Nov 072010
 

The grief-stricken birds, the host of wild creatures, the flinty rocks and the woods that had so often followed his songs, all wept for Orpheus. The trees shed their leaves and, with bared heads, mourned for his loss.

Men say that the rivers too were swollen with their own tears, and naiads and dryads tore their hair, and pulled on black garments, over their fine robes. The poet’s limbs were scattered in different places, but the waters of the Hebrus received his head and lyre.

Wonderful to relate, as they floated down in midstream, the lyre uttered a plaintive melody and the lifeless tongue made a piteous murmur, while the river banks lamented in reply. Carried down to the sea, theyleft their native river, and were washed up on the shore of Lesbos, near Methymna.

Here, as the head lay exposed on that foreign shore, its hair dripping with beads of foam, it was attacked by a savage snake: but Phoebus at last appeared, and checked the snake in the very act of biting, turning its open mouth to stone, and petrifying its gaping jaws.

The ghost of Orpheus passed beneath the earth; he recognised all the places he had seen before and, searching through the fields of the blessed, found his Eurydice, and clasped her in eager arms. There they stroll together, side by side: or sometimes Orpheus follows, while his wife goes before, sometimes he leads the way and looks back, as he can do safely now, at his Eurydice.

Ovid, Orpheus in the Underworld

Mar 152010
 
A long long time ago

A long long time ago

As her eyes ran over the black and white plates of the book, the two in the room became increasingly attuned to the music playing between them. In his mind it grew louder, recalling to him the daughter of memory. 

She reached out a hand for the volume button and pushed it higher. Lush electronic sounds swelled like waves and a soft, angelic voice swept over them on the breeze. 

A brief history of time unfolded in his fathomless mind. 

She was wearing golden sandals, shoes that were paid-for by her father, together with a light coloured dress.  Around her wrist was a bracelet full of charms and with his bright, ancient eyes, he saw that the necklace at her throat was made from the stuff of magic; a gift from her mystery-loving mother. 

Over 2,400 years had passed since they had been this close. On that occasion the moon had been perfectly halved by the shadow of the Earth, and Jupiter was at the same point in its orbit as it would be in three and a half hours, that self-same night. 

He looked over his shoulder and nodded to the gigantic sphere, which turned through the fragile cosmos by an intricately complex, haunting melody. Both of them saw with the eye of their mind that a gateway had opened in the ether. 

Suddenly aware of time, she picked up her mobile phone and studied its display. It was only half past 9.00. 

Strange. 

Normally she felt this way much later in a given day. The force was usually been strongest between 1 and 2, she mused earnestly, casting aside the book. 

She had never quite realized why. 

Things take so much time