Today's poem is by John Sokol
Just Sing, Orpheus!
Isn't that what your mother told you
When you were a boy; what the Argonauts
Pleaded when a raging sea threatened
To splinter their boat, and, you too frail
To row needed only to sing to lower the pitch
Of the waves? Don't think, Orpheus, just sing!
Wasn't that Pluto's order, when as Ovid
Says your songs wrenched iron tears
From his eyes? You should have held
Those notes, Orpheus. There he was, king
Of the Stygian world, offering Eurydice
Another chance, and you, a waltz,
Straight out of hell (if only you wouldn't
Look back). But, then ... what was it you said?
Why? Why? Damn, boy, what were
You thinking? You had the sun, the moon,
And the stars; nightingales lived in your throat.
When you sang in the forest, stones rolled
Over and rivers wept. The world was yours
For a song: garlands of bees and haloes of birds,
Swans at your feet and a dark-eyed nymph,
On a bed of moss. Even Sisyphus cupped
His ears at the top of his hill and turned
His back on his rock-and-roll. Cerberus bowed
His heads and buried his bones, Endymion
Awoke from eternal sleep, and Chaos put
His house in order. But, listen! Don't mind
This rant. You've suffered enough!
After all, this isn't so much about you
As it is about me, talking to me.
Besides, you've learned your lesson.
Your head still floats on a river
Of woe, and, now, you only wish you could sing.
Copyright © 2003 John Sokol All rights reserved
from In the Summer of Cancer
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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Copyright © 2002, 2003 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved