Orphic Song #3 or 4

After death

had taken her hand

he tried with the other

each one pulling and stretching

as if it were a contest

wherein the constancy of wills

were being assayed.

In the end

he had to give up

and get on

with the business of living:

You can’t write songs

while dragging along a line,

or play a harp

with one hand otherwise engaged.

He watched, half sad,

as his imagination lost touch

with a figure and features

that he had thought

were indelible: as permanently ensconced

as a line of poetry

learned at adolescence. And for once

the walls of his house

were bare of both homage and passion.

Of necessity he peopled them with fancy,

wrung light melodies, hemi-demi

truths from his lyre, curtained

his window to the outside world

with words that rhymed, and that he thought had rhythm.

In the end

he veiled the bitter taste of that memory’s entanglement

with persiflage and self-aggrandizement;

he sealed his chambers,

padded, padlocked,

set his alarms for maximum isolation,

and sang seasonal songs

that denigrated feeling.

As we all know, his punishment

was not long in coming.