Caroline Lemak Brickman, Marina Tsvetaeva

Eurydice to Orpheus (“not in the mood”)


Photo by Tom Dyne.

for those who have driven away the last tatters
of the veil (neither lips nor cheeks!..)
oh isn’t it exceeding your privilege:
Orpheus descending into Hades?

for those who have let go the last elements
of the earthly… for those who have laid down
оn the bed of all beds the great lie of beholding,
for those who see within – the meeting is a knife.

it was paid for – all the roses of blood paid
for this loose dress
of immortality…
                           to the very source of the Lethe
you loved me – I need peace

the peace of oblivion. for in this phantom house
the phantom is you, existing, and the reality is
me, dead… what shall I tell you, except:
“forget this and leave it”

for you won’t arouse me! I won’t be drawn to you!
for I’ve no hands! nor lips to press
to your lips! with a snakebite of immortality
ends woman’s passion.

it was paid for – remember my cries! –
this last looseness was paid for.
no need for Orpheus to descend to Eurydice
nor for brothers to disturb their sisters.

          Tsvetaeva, 1923

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