Sunday, 10 June 2012

Unsolicited Poetry: Orpheus and Eurydice

It occurred to me that I've talked a lot on this blog about myself as a writer but I haven't actually shown you much of my writing. So, without further ado, here is the poem that nobody asked for.

Orpheus and Eurydice

All of Greece heard news of Orpheus’s love,
for fair Eurydice, her honeyed breath
and curling hair, her lips, her eyes, immortalised in song,
his tributes to his muse, his goddess, life.
He loved her with all his soul, more than sight,
more he rashly claimed, than fear of death.

Perhaps he was unwise to test the lord of death
for on their wedding day,  disaster met his love.
Eurydice trod upon a snake hidden from her sight
whose deadly venom stopped her heart and breath.
Orpheus refused to mark the passing of her life,
too grieved to lay her out or sing the funeral song.

With her, all his joy was gone, his wedding songs
dried up, his lyre unplayed, his life consumed by death.
He had nothing left with Eurydice lost; his life
a string of endless days. And so he went to seek his love,
to go where few have gone before and kept their breath.
Lyre in hand he walked ‘til Hades’ gates were in his sight.

A lesser man would turn back at the sight
of those endless caverns and that eerie song,
a keening wail from throats run out of breath.
Orpheus was unafraid to trespass in the halls of death,
He sang the monstrous dog to sleep with songs of love
and braved the Styx, whose oily waters sought to sap his life.  

Unable to conceal the rush of life
still in his veins he made his way into the sight
of Lord Hades and his bride, his stolen love,
Persephone, the Queen of Death. There he sang his song,
a song of love and loss and pain and death.
The gods, their servants, subjects held their breath.

On bended knee he begged Euridyce’s breath
brought back that she might be returned to life.
his pleas moved even the stony gods of death
who promised her return if he could hold off the sight
of her. They journeyed up, her following his song
until he tripped and turned and saw his love.

With that the lovers were undone. His pretty words were gone, a waste of breath.
Eurydice would no more hear those songs. She was forever barred from life,
from sun and sky and Orpheus, her love, by stern and unrelenting Death.

It was published in the NSU Writers' Society anthology, which can be found here:

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