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.