The Weeping Lyre


*Image found HERE

The Weeping Lyre

My bronze hips, my bone throat,
my wooden lung, ivory scar,

my endless red notes-
He gripped me in his palm,
a bent rib of god,
a haunting voice of his beloved.
He watched her, coiled,
rooted to a wet, dead ground –
under his arm,
we sojourned into
the black symposia
Sun banished fair
protesting the sky.
He plucked my veins, one by one,
by two and three,
the underworld was swaying to my screams,
my lyricist
juggling esoteric octaves of the heart
to uproot the she-tree
again, into the meadow of his palms.

I heard his wild years
twist around my strings
like starved vultures;
his desire
the core of Etna,
his body treacherous,
disconnected, tired of the craft,
his mind loving, pleading, adoring
like a stubborn child;
silly boy,
he thought he coerced the wolf
from out its hide.
How his hands caressed me,
for the skin of another,
how his fingers strummed
for the hair of his nymph,
how his eyes betrayed him,
he could not look away,
as the theater of underground
cheered, and hummed.

I saw him ravaged by the fairest, starved,
like sun rays would prick
each morn – the holes through mortal’s lives,
lust-drunken woman
yearning for his tutor’s lies,
his head forever floating,
uttering a song,
I rest upon the banks untouched
but by his wandering ghost –
Oh, we sat under the faint moonlight,
sorrows – erected into night,
like a rabid scorn, devoured
he would play,
hymn after a hymn, a ballad of death,
maddened he plucked

and picked
until he would lose his breath,
he’d stop,
stop then to weep and heave
and ask into the darkness
“Can she hear?”
“Can you hear, my dear?”

*For NaPoWriMo day 21, where the prompt was to write from the perspective of a minor character of a fairytale or story. I chose to give a glimpse of what the Lyre that Orpheus played to try and reclaim his beloved Eurydice thought and felt through the whole ordeal.

~ by Oloriel on April 21, 2016.

38 Responses to “The Weeping Lyre”

  1. I love that you chose the lyre and personified it so. It’s super creative and it really does depict the story in a whole new light, seeing it from the point of view of the lyre. It’s interesting you chose to use words like “screams” and that you chose to give the entire poem a dark, almost morbid tone.

    • Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to leave me a word of your own.
      I think we often romanticize myths and stories, fairy tales and legends. I, for one, am daily guilty of it and it is awesome and inspiring, but sometimes it makes me wonder if by doing that, the gruesomeness of these acts, the display of lack of moral quality and similar stuff, will be forgotten. I often see these stories as lessons where the suffering and the ugly stuff is also by itself exaggerated to strike in fear in the reader, but I wanted to let those old messages shine through, as opposed to the romantic love story we read/write about often regarding Eurydice and Orpheus.
      I was also very curious to depict the Lyre, an object, as something that could not change the situation but merely be a bystander. Does that not often happen in life too, especially during bad events?
      Sorry for the long boring reply, if it put to sleep, I hope you have pleasant dreams! πŸ˜€

      • Haha, long response yes, but boring? Not at all! I appreciate you taking the time to explain your thoughts, and I do agree, being a bystander forced to view the horrible events but be powerless to change it, does indeed happen more often than not in life 😦

  2. This is great. Love the way it builds the tension, tightening the strings, as it were. Masterful.

  3. Such a lyrical poem, the words coiling, the story alive. Wow.

    I love this one specifically: “He plucked my veins, one by one,”

  4. Wonderful poem! I recently took a photo under a weeping willow tree as Orpheus, king of the willow lyre, wearing my “Eurydice stuck in Elysium” shirt.

    I finished a poem yesterday similar to yours, about an escape from Elysium, and crossing the river styx, and a kind of Eurydice being “in the arms of Morpheus” instead of Orpheus, it being a phrase for sleep, which has parallels to death. You probably knew that already. Pretty clever making your poem about Orpheus and the willow lyre, and calling it the weeping lyre. πŸ˜‰

    “Sonnets From Hush To Hush XXIX (29)”
    by Ry Hakari

    Sometimes chance, is just/unjust happenstance
    like Linnet wing’s spinet keyed mysteries
    Scales of C ether swim, seethe melodies
    either/or pearly grace, purgatory
    Yeah, branching synapses’ brambles bushwhack
    Love, that sweet ache at the end of the day
    as you lay the heavy weight away dazed
    in sleep’s embrace and pleasing growing pains
    Wish lit candlestick, listless catalyst,
    somnambulistic in a trance, spell cast
    with this both/and happy-sad amalgam:
    The best is born of bearing our own thorns
    in our sides, tiger-striped fires in our eyes
    Handsome Hunchbacks, Beautiful Medusas,
    Sometimes chance, is just/unjust happenstance
    imagined circumstance, perhaps a glance,
    A to B, not to be crazy romance
    with A certain C death dalliances afterlives
    cause/effect committal/acquittal, Bice
    Hush, vice/versal let erstwhile lovers back
    Yeah, branching synapses’ brambles bushwhack

    (The one below is what I finished yesterday)

    “Sonnets From Hush To Hush XXX (30)”
    by Ry Hakari

    Chimera come close, kiss caldera lips
    I double-dare-bedevil you sacrifice
    Let me wipe the lye from those starry eyes,
    lift event horizon lids, surmise some sunrise β€”
    Blackrose browning gold, unfurl merle iris
    Hell holds no storm like a tempest corked
    Heaven keeps no beauty like release stored
    at bae β€” any port in a war for warmth
    shoulders cold in the arms of Morpheus
    fighting sheets, coitus eclipsed quietus
    in steamy dreams tear seams, reality
    Demon in the sack, cloth to moths to flames
    Druid lots drawn, rocks to Scots to raise
    Seraph sent censers, moss to sloths to chafe
    Chimera come close, kiss caldera lips
    des moines behemoth β€” With shibboleth,
    Wiccan flint glints, cross the Styx to rose hips
    Liger liar, hybrid pyre on fire, pants desire
    for Orion’s belt β€” Like a Lycan-vampire’s
    identity crisis, Fenris-Phoenix
    Blackrose browning gold, unfurl merle iris

    • So nice to see you here, Ryan! I hope you are doing well!
      Your poem is amazing, mine is just pale in comparison, I love so so many parts of it, that are tongue twisting, clever, but also enticing to the mind like “I double-dare-bedevil you” – so much behind these 5 words, when you string it the way you did! Thank you very much for sharing your poems with me!

      • I don’t think yours pales in comparison! You had me hooked from the opening lines:

        “My bronze hips, my bone throat,
        my wooden lung, ivory scar,”

        and then with

        “my lyricist
        juggling esoteric octaves of the heart
        to uproot the she-tree
        again, into the meadow of his palms.

        I heard his wild years
        twist around my strings ”

        you had me wowing even more. Willow trees, symbolic for the tree of life, and our veins being like our tree of life… that came to mind with those words, and that is something that I often think about, so it was nice hearing it worded in another sense, by another poet I admire. It was a really great poem πŸ™‚

      • Thank you, I am really glad to hear that!
        I was wanting to ask you if you would perhaps be interested in reviewing my book that I published recently. I have no reviews so far and I really feel bad asking anyone about it, and it is hard to put it into words, but I trust your judgement? I hope that makes sense! It is perfectly ok to say no and no need to elaborate on your reasons, I am pretty content I have a chance to even ask , learn and interact with you! πŸ™‚

      • Sure, send me links here/email of where to get it and where you would like me to leave the review! If I can get it in paperback, that would be great! I think I remember something about you starting a publishing company with someone, but I don’t know if you only publish in ebook form. I assume you published your book with your company. I’ve been reading Dante’s Divine Comedy lately under a willow tree downtown, and it’s more enjoyable to read out in nature without having to worry much about battery life on my phone if it’s in ebook form, as I like to listen to music while I read. I have the Divine Comedy in hardback, but it leather cover looks like a bible, especially with it’s connected red ribbon book mark, and as I am agnostic and don’t want to be labeled as someone looking to evangelize or be alone with god (well, the Christian god at least) in nature, I have been opting to read it on my phone instead. If it’s only available in ebook form though, that is doable too!

        By the way, Katatonia is coming out with a new album! You mentioned you are a fan too once. Looking forward to it! Here’s a lyric video for one of the songs off it.

      • Sorry for the late reply to you, Ryan, we were having elections here and PC was impossible to get by. I am writing you an email now.

  5. Just need to echo what jademwong said up there; superb!

  6. I love it… the voice of the lyre is a special one.. and I could see how it could have fitted also our poetic prompt on folk songs… there is something quite folky about a minor character (the underdog perspective).

    • Thank you, Bjorn! I just loved your folk song! I wrote one, years ago, albeit it was heavily inspired by a video game and the territory/questline in it that I adore. It had a refrain and everything πŸ™‚

  7. Dark and enchanting at the same time. Chills.

  8. Very touching, dear Oloriel! Luv your words! xo

    • Thank you, Resa, I am very happy you liked it! I wonder if there was ever some Orpheus/Eurydice mural you found πŸ˜€

      • Not yet! Although there is a lovers’ mural in Kensington, and a Magic Man that I’ve driven by while working & haven’t been able to get back to. Will definitely find another perfect for you!
        Off to Ottawa on Sunday! They have murals there!

  9. My bronze hips, my bone throat,
    my wooden lung, ivory scar,

    my endless red notes-
    He gripped me in his palm,
    a bent rib of god,

    ^^^^Those opening lines are tremendous & stand fully on their own. Truly powerful.

    The rest, of course, is a wonderful retelling of a sad myth from a unique witness… Poor Orpheus. poor Eurydice, poor Lyre… it’s a terrible loss for her, too…

    • Thank you very much for reading and writing to me!
      I depicted the lyre as sad because that is what I would be, if I was witnessing this story.
      I did however, after finishing the write, think I could have spiced and spruced things up differently an how would the poem look if the lyre was actually jealous and protesting Orpheus’s infatuation?
      I guess it shall remain a myth for someone else to tell πŸ˜€

      • Haha I kinda felt her jealousy, though… here:

        “How his hands caressed me,
        for the skin of another,
        how his fingers strummed
        for the hair of his nymph,”

        but maybe I’m just projecting. πŸ˜‰

  10. “I rest upon the banks untouched
    but by his wandering ghost –
    Oh, we sat under the faint moonlight,
    sorrows – erected into night,
    like a rabid scorn, devoured
    he would play,
    hymn after a hymn, a ballad of death,
    maddened he plucked”

    Dark and sweet. I think darkness is the salt of a romance story.

    • Thank you very much, Peter, I am so happy that you enjoyed the poem! I find it creative that you say “salt” since “salty” is as far as I know, nowadays sleng for being bitter and angry? Perhaps darkness is the trace of that one, first, truest of true love we had, the candlelight that got extinguished by a pair of saliva wet fingers, haunting all of our future heartfull endeavours. Perhaps, this was the birth of Orpheuses darkness.

  11. “juggling esoteric octaves of the heart” Love that line! Great poem all around, Oloriel. Cheers!

  12. this is gorgeous! i love the vivid imagery and how the lyre accompanies orpheus through his journeys, ever observant, aching to be played and when it is played, aching for the broken heart that plays it.

  13. This is great! Enjoyed reading

  14. you know, one of the reasons I love reading your verse is that it’s always kinda surprising and unexpected (am not sure I use the right words in English (blush)… it shows every little thing can be viewed from so many different perspectives… love that, very creative..

    • Thank you very much, Alexandra, that is the best comment I could get! I always worry my poems are too personal, obvious and lame, so it delights me to hear when someone can find a meaning in them, entirely their own and perhaps not even intended by my verse.

  15. How often we forget about others when we focus only on one things and leave them yearning…
    They speak no words yet they stay next to us through the worst and the best…

    Love it in so many ways..comparisons, realism, and the pain at the end!

    • It is also weird how sometimes an observer can tell us more about ourselves or help in a situation, then us ourselves. We often times do not notice how much our pain is felt by others.

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