Νέκυια, Ραψωδία λ’

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RHAPSODY λ’: Descending in the Hades

The place is lacking in sunlight, resembles the Cimmerians’ land;
I walked the staircase down where they live in endless night;
carried away by youngsters, I came to the gate of Hades,

found myself in an underground bar; for a libation with whisky,
I saw girls with red eyes, she draws on, near me, and moans:
‘they brought me here as unburied dead; bury my body
at home, to die as a human being; release me, foreigner’.
I swore to buy her body for one night and then set her free.

‘You’re a nice guy’, Agamemnon, drunk customer, advised me,
‘but be careful of women; my spouse took revenge on my error’.
Customer Tiresias envisages: ‘You’ll arrive where you wish to go!’

Then, in a corner, I saw a pale woman same as my mother.
How come she is here, a slave in an underground bar?
In smoke and darkness she seemed dead. ‘Oh, my child’
says, ‘for so long, here, I starve and suffer for I missed you…’

Three times I tried to approach but her shape escaped me, just
a shade of a dream; inaccessible to embrace her with my arms,
my words were birds she couldn’t catch. She lisped ‘nekyia,
our bones are fleshes without nerves; the fire tames us all’.

At least her soul flew as a dream and was laughing;
even Achilles, the chief gang of the bar, would envy her,
for my mum had a humble life that he would like to have.

‘Return safe in our country, son’, she wishes, ‘my life is your history’
I left and found the course leading to the smoke of home, in the light.

Joseph S. Josephides

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