Adagio




Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings"

floats through the open door.

Hummingbirds preen on nectar

outside the picture window.


In the movement of their wings,

in the movement of the strings:

the somber tone of death,

the infinity into which we die.


A clear high note reverberates

from the violin, reaching

the celestial spheres,

which extend ever outward


toward that which resonates

within us, like attracted to like,

the mystic chord of harmony,

of melody, of meaning in moans.


I listen and weep for the deep sorrow

carried by the strings. They mourn

life's passage, rising like notes from

Orpheus' lyre, his dirge of misery and loss,


of the certain death of looking back. Eurydice

forever sealed into the sulfurous grip of Hades.

Orpheus forever alone with his lifeless lyre,

his limp instrument of wailing, groaning, dying.


Cerberus howls through the hellish nights,

a refrain of vengeance and strife,

the paltry satisfactions of the underworld,

the shadow of life, the silence of the lyre.


"Adagio" echoes down the cavern walls,

escaping into the endless dark,

into the requiem for a love that lasts

only in the lovers' past, only in song.

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