the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Langan’s Orpheus and Eurydice

Posted by rigorousm on December 28, 2013


Speck on the other world, is your hood
pulled tight and tied? Blemish on this world,
wearing a raincoat walking in the rainstorm

is a good idea, say the wise. Mist is a baleful
procedure, how grass grows is a procedure,
both tree and squirrel follow procedures,

the lover disguises herself in procedure:
she raises the mainsail, she raises the jib.
Her soul is like that, a woman alone at sea.

Eurydice’s in the distance, we cannot know
what she is thinking, she is following;
maybe she is humming then singing

against pain: thinking but declaring nothing
along the trail, whistling, remembering,
counting, then with sudden breath at his neck:

“Don’t turn round, shroud of shrouds”…



Just before or just after turning round?
Or in-between, one breath from the tape-breaking,
boy becomes man, finally, on the frontier, free gesture

sorrowful Orpheus can’t take back because now she
is gone again, the beloved, it’s been decided?
Maybe you wish to review the attending grieving,

as this may teach you better how to endure?
Or you prefer to watch the long hours of anxiety
filling his head before he yields to the inevitable gravity?

I can’t deny your choice may lead you to greater
self-knowledge, etc. It could even make you stronger,
it could start to make you whole again,

studying the flickering restraint or self-torture.
But just so you don’t forget, it wasn’t his fault or hers,
yours or mine, we shouldn’t blame God or nature.

The sun was shining. Beautiful Orpheus turned.

— Steve Langan (Orpheus and Eurydice crowd into my manuscript “Hex,” even more be-hexed, if just barely, than its abject (but willing to learn another way!) speaker.) (Original publication in Diagram here)


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