circular lava flow
Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Io by Adam Sedia

Hellish orb of woe,

Infernal realm aglow,

Ablaze with bright fire-red,

Vast lava-seas that go

In boundless, roiling flow

From pole to scorched pole, fed

From ash-stained peaks that throw

Cascading magmas, blow

Dense, noxious plumes, and spread

A white-hot flood below:

The molten sulfur floe

Across the fire-sea’s bed,

Which ever surge and grow,

Engulf and overflow,

With naught but flame to tread.

Your heart of fire, the throe

That stirs it forth you owe

To Jove, around whom, led

Careening to and fro

In rounds that never slow

You dance, forever wed.

O, wrathful world! Although

Your flames and fumes are foe

To life, you are not dead.

No! Rather, they bestow

A living death and show

That beauty has not fled

But lives to undergo

Such pain, so all may know

The hell they are to dread.


Adam Sedia (b. 1984) has published three volumes of poetry and is a regular contributor to The Chained Muse, New Lyre, The Society of Classical Poets, and other journals. He is also an author, translator, essayist, and composer. His musical compositions may be heard on his YouTube channel. He lives with his wife, Ivana, and their children, in his native Northwest Indiana, where he practices as a municipal and litigation attorney.

Author's note

Adam Sedia writes: "Astronomy was one of my first childhood interests, and I think it's a vastly underused poetic subject. Jupiter's moon Io, covered completely in active volcanoes—even down to the starkness of its name—is almost a caricature world, a concrete manifestation of hell. That made it, I thought, ripe as a poetic subject, and I chose a sparing structure and rhyme pattern to capture the severity of that world."