Guest poem sent in by Pei Chi :
(Poem #1367) Eurydice
I am not afraid as I descend, step by step, leaving behind the salt wind blowing up the corrugated river, the damp city streets, their sodium glare of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain; for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon. Already your face recedes beneath the station clock, a damp smudge among the shadows mirrored in the train's wet glass, will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out past cranes and crematoria, boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud, the rows of curtained windows like eyelids heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge. Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear. Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair. You turned to look. Second fly past like birds. My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud. This path unravels. Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping. Above the hurt sky is weeping, soaked nightingales have ceased to sing. Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue. I dream of a green garden where the sun feathers my face like your once eager kiss. Soon, soon I will climb from this blackened earth into the diffident light.
Sue Hubbard was commissioned to write this poem by the Arts Council and British Film Institute for the Waterloo underpass leading to the IMAX Cinema in London. The poet's take on the Greek myth of Orpheus (a wandering minstrel, surely) and his lost wife Eurydice, from Eurydice's point of view, so perfectly suits the location in which it was installed. I walked by it recently late at night, and was quite captivated not only by the beauty of the words, but by the dramatic effect of their physical arrangement on the walls of the underpass. The lines of each verse are indented in a step pattern and the verses placed one after another on either side of the underpass walls so that the poem seems to unfurl itself towards you as you 'descend, step by step' - or as you 'climb...into the diffident light'. That last verse will stay in my mind a long time as I travel London by its ancient (and sometimes unreliable) underground rail system. Bibliography can be found here: http://www.netkonect.net/~athelstan/shubbard.html More of Sue Hubbard's Public Art poems can be seen here: http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/places/hubbard.htm Pei Chi For another poem very reminiscent of the same myth, see Margaret Atwood's "Variatons on the word Sleep", Poem #1093