Eurydice – Part II: A Letter to Orpheus, From the Underworld
 ~ by Elisa Nodine

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This poem was written in reference to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus and Eurydice fall in love, but Eurydice dies. Orpheus is a great musician, and so he is able to convince Hades and Persephone, through his music, to allow him to retrieve Eurydice from the Underworld. However, Hades says Orpheus cannot look at Eurydice until they have both completely emerged from the Underworld. Orpheus comes out from the Underworld first, and looks behind him too soon – Eurydice has only partially come into view. And so, she disappears back into the Underworld, and Orpheus is forever heartbroken over his loss. It was my intent to give Eurydice a voice to let her grief be heard.

 

I am lost

and you are not here.

 

In a tunnel

with no end

only walls lit with torches

I descend.

 

I was here before you came

and made me cease my steps.

But I remain,

and you are gone.

I press on.

But now each step pierces my ears…

reminds me that I am again, always, alone,

 

that moments are passing

and you are not here.

 

Before you came, I did not know

what it meant

not to be alone.

 

I watched you through darkened windows,

imagined what a life would be like.

But they were only

imaginings

illusions

tricks- none of them real.

 

My tunnel was made of empty longings.

I lived floating through the air.

 

And then you came through a door I did not see

I looked at you in disbelief.

I questioned your existence

to your face.

 

You were not upset.

You came to me, and offered me your hand

and simply said,   “touch me.”

 

I gripped your hand

my floating ceased,

gravity overtook me,

and my feet   touched the ground.

I was frightened,

but I did not let go.

 

You   stopped me from my descent

into my lightless tunnel,

and, for an eternity, I lived with you there

lying on the floor, hand-in-hand.

The ground beneath us became soft earth

cradling our innocence,

And finally, for the first time,

I slept.

 

We made an Eden in my tunnel.

The fruits that grew from

the light of your warmth,

the purity of my love,

we ate,

and I drank the nectar

of your scent . . .

But . . .

 

When I woke, you were gone

back through your invisible door.

 

While I slept you told me

you could not continue my descent,

held me and kissed me tenderly,

then let me go

and left.

 

The earth where you had lain, now cold

devoid of your warmth my only relic.

 

I laid and grieved

until your scent was gone

and the vines that had grown   from my tears

had withered   from age.

 

Eventually, I too

left our patch of earth

and walked, no longer floating,

back to my descent . . . I am still walking . . .

and I am alone.

 

My feet press forward

chained to the ground

and in every footfall I now hear

the clear, sweet sound of your voice.

Every torch I pass is a shadow of your warmth.

 

When I tire and am forced to rest,

I caress the walls and they mock my hands

and, when I sleep, I dream of earth

cradling me in your embrace.

 

When I wake, the walls pulse

with my heart’s longing . . .

my tunnel-aching, hollow-made of me

only me

can now only remind me of you.

 

Longings, once empty,

now overflow.

I must wade and cut through them

to continue my descent.

 

The windows are all black now,

and I cannot see through,

though sometimes I will stop at one

and try so hard to see you

that I weep when I cannot.

 

Every time I sleep

I beg that God will leave me to my dreams.

And as I descend I imagine

that you will be the light

waiting

at the end of my tunnel.

 

Waking, the tunnel is dark.

 

I am lost

and you are not here.

 

Elisa Nodine is a student at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, the city where she was born. She is an English major with minors in History and Philosophy,. Writing is her passion.

2 comments

  1. Hypnotic sound. This is a sincere work that successfully conveys the mood and idea of the speaker. I would like to trade poetry collections.

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