The Wounds of Love

Gregory Orr. Orpheus and Eurydice

What is remarkable is the reinvigorating of the unremarkable, quotidian. The magic of myth is close at hand. Consider "The Entrance to the Underworld" and its location: the beginning of love.

You were looking in the wrong
world. It was inside
you — entrance
to that cavern
deeper than hell,
more dark and lonely.
Didn't you feel it open
at her first touch?
Later in the sequence the reader is offered the startling simile of snake and bracelet clasp. Still intriguing how the mundane is transformed into myth. Simple pacing of language to lead us there.
A snake no bigger
than a bracelet
of braided gold
unfastened and cast aside
in the haste of love …

The bite itself — only
the pinprick
you might feel
stepping barefoot
on the open clasp.
In the first case, love is signalled by the metonymy of touch; in the second, it is explicitly named, but in a hurry, in haste, through its provocations. And that brief mention in the conceit constructed by the poem is so tiny, a mere passing: one line followed by marks of suspension. Fleeting.

And so for day 1483