Orpheus and Eurydice

Because I couldn’t find English version so I managed to translate Czeslaw Milosz poem about Orpheus and Euridice. Apparently he wrote it after his beloved wife death. I love it! This translation is not perfect, but hmm… here it is.


Orpheus and Eurydice

Standing on footpath by the gate to Hades
Orpheus cowered himself in a gusty wind,
This was tearing his overcoat, drawing waves of mist,
Tossing in leaves of trees. Car lights
In the mist became stifled.

He stopped in front of glasses door, uncertain
If he has enough strength in this last test.

He remembered her words: “you are a good man”
Not really he believed in it. All lyric poets 
Usually have, as he known, cold hearts.
It`s almost condition. Perfect of art
You can receive in exchange for this disability.

Just her love could really warm him up, make a human being.
When he was with her, his thoughts about him were also different. 
He couldn’t disappoint her now, when she died.

He pushed the door. He was gone in a labyrinth of corridors, elevators.
Strong light was not a light, but a terrestrial dark.
Electronically dogs passed him without a rustle.
He was going down, floor after floor, one hundred, three hundred, deep down.
It got frozen. He was conscious that he found Nowhere.
Under of thousands death centuries,
On a place full of dust and burned generations,
This kingdom seemed to not have bottom and end.

He was surrender by the faces of tightness shadows,
Some of them he recognized. He was feeling a rhythm of his own blood.
He really felt his own life with all his guilt
And he was afraid to meet those, whom he did bad things.
But they lost ability to remember.
They were looking as if beside, passive for past.

He only got a nine – chord lyre for self – defense.
He got inside it, music of earth against a hell,
This buries all sounds by its silent. 
Music was his master. He was then weak – willed.
He resigns oneself to this dictate song, overheard.
As his lyre, he was just an instrument. 

And then he came into the palace of stewards this land
Persephone in her garden full of withered pear and apple trees,
Full of black and naked boughs, creased branches,
And her throne, mournful amethyst, she was listening,

He was singing about morning brightness, rivers in green.
About smoking water of rosy daybreak.
About colors: vermilion, carmine,
Sienna, azure.
About a delight of swimming in a sea near marble cliffs.
About a feasts on a terrace above tumult of fishing villages.
About tastes: wine, salt, olive, white mustard, almonds.
About swallow flies, falcon flies, flock of pelicans flying
Over a bay. 
About a smell of handful lilies in a summer rain.
About that, he was composing these words against death
And none of his rhyme glorified nothingness.

I don’t know, said goodness, if you loved her
But you arrived here, to rescue her.
She will be return to you. There is a one condition though.
You cannot speak to her. And in a return way
You cannot look back to check if she is going after you.

And Hermes brought along Eurydice.
Her face not her, totally gray,
Abandoned eyelids, under it shadow of eyelashes.
She was moving forward so stiff, guided by a hand
Of her leader. To pronounce her name
He wanted so hard, wake her up from this dream.
But he restrained himself, knowing, that he accepted a condition.

They moved. First he, and then, but not at once,
Clink of his sandals and tiny tramp of
Her foot wrapped by a gown of shroud.
Steep path upstairs was gleaming
In a darkness which was like a walls in a tunnel.
He stopped and tried to listen. But then
They stopped as well, and echo disappeared.
When he was walking again, their steps where coming back to life,
Once, he thought closer, but then farther again.
Under his faith increased an uncertainty 
And was wreathing him like cool bindweed.
As a person who never cries, now he was in tears for
All those people who lost their faith in death rising.
Because now he was like every one of them, mortals,
His lyre was silent and he dreamed without protection.
He known, he must believe, but he couldn’t believe.
This uncertain reality of steps counting in torpor
Whispered to take a long time.

Dawn. A piece of broken rocks appeared
Under a bright eye of exit from the underworld.
And it was as he thought it will be. When he turned his head back
Behind him, on a path, there wasn’t anybody.

Sun. And sky with clouds.
Now something was trying to scream inside him: Eurydice! 
How I can live without you, my love?
But herbs smelled, 
And he fall asleep, with his cheek on a warm grand.

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