A BACKWARDS GLANCE


My love, oh fair and flushed with life;

The pure and virtuous Eurydice,

Did catch my eye one summer day,

Where she did but only play

Amongst the falls of gushing springs,

In a land of joyous things.

Her beauty too did oh arrest,

A God with pride who could attest,

The love we shared and too possessed.

Aristaeus endeared to

Pursue my love with all his due,

But his cause was thus impaired

When Eurydice became ensnared:

Her beauty no defence against,

A strike of vicious circumstance;

And from a bite upon her thigh,

She did but quickly

Poisoned…die.

For endless days with no relent,

I did mourn upon my instrument –

The lyre, tuned for sadness brought

To my side a Muse, distraught

With hair of liquid fire,

Who'd risked her sisters' icy ire,

By taking coins of gold to pave my way

With which to pay Hell's own valet.

"Call for your love to be returned to thee

And sing once more a melody

–For loss is such a sad refrain;

Play until you earn her back again."

Upon her words I did rely

As I shot to Hell that nigh;

A battle cry of desperate love,

Echoing in the sky above.

Hampered straight upon the start,

I faced a beast of telling smart:

Its mighty heads on necks of muscle,

Its dribbling fangs a promise of trouble.

Thumped in a fit of passive fervent,

Its tail boasting the head of a serpent

The Cerberus growled and snarled its hate

As I approached the Hellish gate:

Stretched forth on endless plains of rock,

The realm of Hell did duly knock;

Its Rivers, wide and marvellous;

The Styx, Phlegethon, Lethe, and Cocytus.

Then, of course the Acheron,

Overseen by Charon the Ferryman,

To whom my coins would soon belong.

The Cerberus stomped to block the way,

Whining when I began to play

My instrument without delay.

Soon it crouched and cried for more,

Its attentions firmly off the door

And in a final bout of harmony,

I entered Hell indefinitely.

For days on end with no provision,

I persisted with grim precision

Until finally starved and inflamed,

I met a ghost that doth proclaimed:

"To Hades Palace, head straight on yonder,

But do not expect to after wander,

For the King is frozen to his throne

And so is too, his Persephone."

Following the words of death,

I came upon the fortress.

Stubborn for all to see,

I screamed to them: a banshee.

My shouts were shrill and menacing,

Until my voice was trembling.

Amused by my impertinence,

Hades did grant me an audience;

His hall of molten lava grand,

His wife chained unto his hand.

In the court of royalty

I played for them a symphony;

A plea 'twas, disguised as song,

Its message proud and true and strong,

And when it halted at the end,

Neither tried to pretend

That their eyes weren't moist with tears,

For the first time in many years.

Agree they did, with lack of strife

To return to me my lovely wife,

But caution, Hades did vehement

As we signed the covenant,

For the deal was a trade,

And she would at first return a Shade.

"Do not gaze upon her shadowed form,

Until upon the upper world you reform.

Not one glance should you endeavour

Or you shall find her gone forever."

No footfalls fell behind my own

As I took my leave back home;

The crevices and shadows swarmed,

With minions ugly and deformed

Who taunted, chimed and giggled at,

My tricked, deserted, empty back.

"Alone," they cried with evil glee,

"Our Master has tricked thee!

She is not free!"

Through them all I charged with grace,

Eager to set eyes upon my beauty's face.

Soon the gate of Hell appeared,

And past it and Cerberus I was steered,

In a boat of bones and stone,

To the shore of Earth; but unbeknown…

An inch from home, when I gazed,

A single time, to sooth my crazed,

Mind which couldn't quite believe,

A demon would willingly conceive,

A deal which would help another,

When he confined all else to suffer.

The shade of ash was quickly ground,

To dust which blew in harsh abound;

To wander lost eternally,

Because of my discrepancy.

Her sombre eyes would stay to haunt,

My waking everyday;

But with sorrow burning for my bride,

I contemplated suicide;

An act which would bring me to her side,

Forever shadowing her stride.

Upon the morn; from Hades's fire,

I did string my gifted lyre

And summoned to my side a range,

Of creatures new and old and strange,

And with their gaze upon my form,

I did but only perform,

A mournful song of loss and pain,

Which my soul could not contain,

And such my tone was oh so bleak,

That I made the Muses weep.

Charmed by my holy notes of vex,

A God did but appear next,

Astride a steed of molten gold,

A lightning bolt clasped in his hold,

And with a strike of no restrain,

I was justly slain;

My cries for mercy heeded true

As my soul continued through

The realm of lies and tricks until,

I drew up to the River Styx,

Whereby I passed unto the Field,

Where my soul was rightly healed,

Safe in the Elysian paradise,

Reunited with my nymph love,

Eurydice.