Monday, January 25, 2010

Poem of Orpheus

I love the story of Orpheus' decent into the underworld to collect his dead wife, Eurydice.  I wrote this poem a couple of years ago trying to feel what it was that everyone felt when Orpheus played his gut-wrenching music for them.  I don't think I have succeeded. 

There is no song of love greater
Than the one I sing
For the nymph who left me here
All alone mourning for her
I need to find her
I need to crawl to the depths of hell
To bring my love back to me
So I can see her radiant hair
And her bright eyes
And hear her voice again
I walk and I wander and I go
Down to the world of the dead
King Hades the steadfast
And his most beautiful queen
I need to go and beg them
To give my love back to me
All the while I sing to them
The trees that bend to hear
Pointing the way for me
To the valley of the dead
And down, down, down I walked
Down to the valley of the dead
And on the bank of the river Styx
The boatman said to me
You stink of life you can’t come here
And so I sang to him
I sang so long and so deep
I sang of the love that my lady had
And the boatman wept
And he stood aside and let me board
His tears flowed down his colorless cheeks
As he drove me across
And so I sang and I sang
Of a love that I couldn’t live with out
A love for which I would go to hell
And at the gates of their kingdom
I met the Lord and Lady there
They barred my way in
And so I sang and I sang
A song of love and sorrow
Of the lady for whom I would go to hell
The lady I could not live without
And Queen Persephone wept
She wept for her mother who loved her
And for her lover who took her
And for all the love in the world
And King Hades wept
He wept for the longing that stole his wife
And made her eat the seeds that made her stay
And they stepped aside
And I walked into the gates of hell
With only one instruction
Not to look upon the radiant beauty
Of my beloved wife
I found her and begged her to follow me
And out and out and out of hell
We ascended the valley
Up to the inviting light above
And it was then my heart took over
I looked back to sing to her of my love
And she was gone, back to the depths
Where I could no longer go
And so I sang a song of sorrow
And so I wandered on

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