I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Don't Look Back

Orpheus And Eurydice

Uphill he climbed, his girl behind.
He turned around, for love is blind,
Nor was he the obedient kind.
Fate held him in a double bind.
He turned around, only to find
His girl in Pluto's arms entwined.

Back at the top, he could not think
Or act or speak. He turned to drink.
Apollo raised one awful stink,
But Bacchus gave a tipsy wink
And Pan the Goat was tickled pink.
Distraught, he hovered on the brink

Of life and death. His choice was plain.
He'd leave the world with all its pain
Of loss, and seek his love again
Before his grief sent him insane.
Little to lose, so much to gain.
His lyre lay rusting in the rain.

So died he of a broken heart
(A sozzled liver played its part),
Descended to the Underworld,
Searched high and low to get his girl,
And now they wander, hand in hand,
Forever, through a happy land.

8 comments:

am said...

Your splendid poem is like midrash. Orpheus and Eurydice wandering hand in hand, Forever.

Something unexpected and wonderful to wake up to this early morning! That ancient story being transformed from gravity to levity.

"Love waits forever/For one and for all."
(Bob Dylan)

Now you've got me wondering. Until now, I always thought that when Bob Dylan wrote "she's got everything she needs, she's an artist, she don't look back," he was thinking of Lot's Wife:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15867

It is occurring to me that it is likely that he and Suze Rotolo saw the film "Black Orpheus" during their time together. Bob Dylan is surely a kindred spirit to Orpheus as well as a writer of midrash.

Thanks so much for this post, Solitary Walker!

George said...

A wonderful, evocative poem, Robert. Your words mingled with deep memories of the film, "Black Orpheus," which, until leaving Washington, I saw almost every year at an old art theater.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Clever stuff Robert. In future, when I am out with the farmer I shall definitely not look back if he lags behind.

Susan Scheid said...

Clever twist on the old tale. Drink, then, "saved" him, in the end.

Ruth said...

Wonderful! We should (you should) rework every tale, myth and epic in such verse as this.

Anonymous said...

Distraught, he hovered on the brink Of life and death. His choice was plain. Dying for living is love forever hand in hand. Well done SW, well done! Mick

Dominic Rivron said...

Terrific! Ruth has a point. More mythical stuff along these lines would be great. Every thought of translating a Greek drama?

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, am, for this comment, which is rich in resonance and connection.

George — another 'Black Orpheus' fan!

I just know you won't, Pat...

I suppose it did, Susan! '...but finding him [Orpheus] insensible one day, excited by the rites of Bacchus... (Bulfinch's Mythology)

Thanks, Mick ...

Ruth and Dominic: that would be an epic task — and doubtless tragic for my readers. I'm quite sure I have neither the talent nor the desire! So Euripedes and Aristophanes can rest in peace.