Orpheus. Cerberus. Charon. – a poem by DB Jonas

Orpheus. Cerberus. Charon.

…und wussten nicht mehr von der leichten Leier
RM Rilke, Orpheus. Eurydike. Hermes

I’d never thought to turn my song to any earthly purpose.
The singing always seemed to rise from somewhere else,
outside the tidy universe that swirled about my self-possession.

I’d hauled this dangling lyre through all the careless hours
like a birthmark, like last night’s dream or a surplus limb,
its cargo loose as air, swinging like a garment with my step.

But now it is the heavy place my fingers find, this empty hand
that reaches for my vanished bride, this instrument I never knew,
and never sought and never saw as instrumental ‘til today,

until beside this river into darkness, where love lies unaware,
and where the pathway plunges dimly on the distant bank,
the one-way road where every footfall signals dread but mine,

the fearful baying pauses and a twisted boatman dips his fatal oar
to fetch me over, waiting, living, at the shore.

DB Jonas is an orchardist living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. His work has appeared in Neologism, Consilience Journal, PoeticaMagazine and The Jewish Literary Journal, and is forthcoming in Tar River, Innisfree and The Deronda Review.

1 Comment

  1. James Hannon says:

    This is wonderful. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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