Kelly McKnight: Orpheus and Euridice

Fall '06 TOC

Book 1

Orpheus, of melodious voice and lyre, writes his kinsmen from his deathbed. Who remains
among his intimates to witness his passing?

you will not understand what I ask for,
what I have lost.

for when I cast out my voice,
a net flung in the ocean,
I reigned in a thousand fishes.

and when I plucked the lyre strings,
Hades and Persephone
warmed their hands in that flood.

but when I turned for her —
what longing for light!
she receded with the outgoing tide.

what I ask of each of you:
a catalog of each night fall.
how do the colors seep and fade?

for on the eve of this largest night,
I find lessons in the pinched light.

Book 2

As Orpheus sinks into this new journey, his consciousness turns to Euridice waiting on the other
side of the river Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. She is swathed in scarves, and she holds a
single 1,000-petalled lily.

my shoulders are now aligned
with the setting sun, naturally.
the waters comfort me.

but you there, a shining silhouette
draped in veils and flowers,
do not honor me now with a flower.

Lethe's waters splash these sandals
and betrayal blurs into waves –
motion loosens the dark.

this vision, she beckons from the white sand,
an alabaster flower with languid arms.
I will play the lute for her.

take me to this Amen-temple,
show me the messages written there.
what do the tablets say of heartbreak?

:: Next ::

Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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