“Sing to me of yearning and loss. Bring my heart to life. Let me feel the passion of her kiss and agony of her death” he commands. Yet, does he want to be reminded of his loss?
The musicians stare at the archaic god, one whose voice and musicianship have bowed even the heads of the infernal deities in Hades. Once his eyes bore the light of stars but now are touched with deep shadows that tell of ordeal and tribulation. Despite the kiss of deep sorrow he still bears an unearthly beauty. Mighty king of Thrace, blessed with gifts beyond measure to calm even the mightiest storm. How can they refuse such an honour? They are no strangers to the Orphic Mysteries and it is no accident great Orpheus has come upon this place.
A hush descends upon the room, and then the gentle murmur of strings emerges from the stage. It is unexpected but not unwelcome. The sounds of an alto saxophone and perfectly matched mellow jazz voice follow. He closes his eyes and allows the various components of the music to transport him to places that are almost lost to memory. Such a wealth of instruments! Piano, acoustic bass, drums and a variety of strings. The song is called “The Nearness of You.” It speaks to his heart, stirs something long dead in its depths. It also speaks to his deep-seated pain and sense of loss, as well shame at failing. Failing at not even being able to heed their warnings. This burden has he carried for eons. The power of that beast named Guilt! It is immeasurable and uncontained. Tears flow freely down his face and his heart feels as if it is in the grip of a vice. He can smell her scent and feel her body against his. Strong arms grip only air. Death is no release from this eternal torture, immortality will eventually end but it seems not now.
A pair of deep brown eyes stare at him from across the room. There is no need to interrupt his self-examination, yet. He is correct in the assessment of the power of guilt. This is his time of awakening; Morpheus has long departed and cannot be blamed for the king’s self-imposed torpor. What misguided notions of love both humankind and gods cling to! His tale of yearning and loss are legendary, told and retold throughout the ages. It is a tale of the deepest love, lighting up the heavens with its incandescent passion and fidelity. Eurydice was the name of his fair wife, so beautiful as to incite lust and longing within the hearts of other men. This was to lead to tragedy as such things are bound to. In flight from an attempted seduction Eurydice was bitten by a serpent and descended to Hades. There are deep mysteries contained within such a tragedy, if you have the eyes to see. Orpheus made the descent into the Underworld to rescue his reason for living; she was his very lifeblood. The infernal regions and its denizens were no match for the power of his music and voice. Such beauty, grace and power does this one vessel contain. Surely such a being has divine origins? Even Hades and Persephone fell under his power and released Eurydice, with a stern warning to make the ascent into the light without even one glance at his wife. This warning he paid no heed to, only due to his great desire to see his beloved once more. Alas, Eurydice returned once more to the land of shades and silence.
Tell me how you cannot have even one small portion of compassion for his plight?Therein lies the basis of a tragedy of immense proportions, holding emotions raw and bloody. I have been called many times than I care to recall to heal the shredded heart and soul. Will he accept my ministrations? We shall see.
He commands the musicians to repeat the song again and again, the hunger is insatiable. They do so without complaint. Theirs is not to judge, as they have been witness to the sorrows and pain of many over the ages. This is a place frequented by both human and those of other persuasion. Hidden in the old quarter of the city it is a haven for the seeker and those on the cusp of transformation. As this grieving being is now. He lifts his head and glimpses me. This is my moment and I move forward.
Orpheus stares at me intently through tear laden vision. His gaze questions my identity. There is no need for speech between us. He understands what I must do and grips my hands. I bend down and kiss his closed, salty eyelids. How they taste of the sea, the Great Sea of Life and Death, the Womb of Creation. He stands up and enfolds me in his arms. I can feel the depth of his distress, such pain, such need for release! ‘Hush’ I whisper in his ear and kiss his cheek. His silence is like the deepest ocean, one that both of us must enter. It speaks of the search for meaning once the light from the heavens has dimmed and the stars have plummeted into the abyss. Where to next it asks once Love has gone? I answer that Love is never gone, even when life returns to the eternal silence and darkness, it is ever present. It endures even when all hope seems lost. Believe I urge the silence and him. I touch his near cold heart and quivering lips, kiss those lips deeply and passionately. My breath to his breath. I offer him life and resilience, the ability to cope with loss and grief. I offer him regeneration and resurrection. Once you have stared into the face of the Void and unknowable you must ascend back into the light and Light. He understands this.
“Feel the blood flow through your veins again. Choose life and love” I urge the beautiful king and god.
I stare at the woman sitting at the table in the corner. Her dark eyes and red lips smile in satisfaction. It is done.