Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

Dante did a pretty good job of describing hell.

But there is a hell he never imagined:

15-year-olds sitting in a classroom, eager to learn. Teacher teaching, asking questions, getting spirited well-framed answers. All is well.

Big windows. Brightly polished floors. Sun streams in on a warm Autumn day.

You know what happens next. They didn’t–they were growing, thriving angels filled with wonder and vexed by the awkwardness of being 15–just like we were when we were teens.

Over as fast as a trigger can be pulled: the banging, the flashing, the wounding, the dying.

15 year-olds in a classroom. Broken windows. Blood-stained floors. Sun streams in on a warm Autumn day.

Dreams disintegrate in the warm Autumn air.

Nothing is left but grief, anger, fear, and despair.

  • Post your own topographia on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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