Thursday, 11 August 2011

#7Virtues Blog Challenge: Patience

What does August mean to you? Long warm days, golden fields of corn? Sandcastles on the beach? So I thought. As I look out of the window, the August skies are blind, filled with a blank haze of grey cloud and rain has been falling steadily since yesterday. What with riots, financial chaos and a miserable cold I'm in the mood for a. a hot water bottle b. chocolate and c. writing a tragedy to cheer myself up (weird how that works).

So for gracious Lady Antimony's #7Virtues blog challenge, today I bring you a bitter-sweet virtue....


Eurydice. Her touch as sweet as melody, her laugh like harp song. Her loss is a dark, dripping cavern inside me. I’m hollow, I barely exist. Bravery didn’t carry me into Hades’ stygian gloom. It was desperation. Terror that this half-life would devour me, turn me into a living shade. They set just one condition, the monarchs of this midnight realm.

Don’t look back.

I must cross the silent Styx, weave through shadowed nightmares up into the light. I must trust that my Eurydice follows, her fleshless feet a soundless echo. I must be patient. I must not look.

I've always felt so sorry for Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus was a good guy, a musician, poet and prophet who adored his wife, the nymph Eurydice. On their wedding day he played joyful melodies whilst she danced through the meadows. Unfortunately, the lovely Eurydice caught the eye of a roving satyr who chased her bent on having his wicked way. In her flight, she trod on a nest of vipers and was killed. Orpheus was so distraught he went down to the Underworld to get her back, softening the heart of Hades and Persephone with his beautiful music. They allowed him to return with her on one condition. That he walk out of the Underworld without looking back once. As he walked towards the light anxiety possessed him. Was Eurydice following him? Would she emerge into the light with him? Was she there? And Orpheus... well you'll just have to read Ovid's tale to find out what happened.

Orpheus and Eurydice have inspired many works of art, music and literature from Gluck's opera (the image above), to Neil Gaiman's the Sandman. It's a tragic tale of true love and human frailty.

Take the Tour

The Heavenly Virtues have been a real challenge for all the writers taking part, but I can tell you that people have really risen to that challenge - and then some! Check out some amazing stories by following the links on Lady Antimony's blog.

Images courtesy of Another Wanderer on DeviantArt, Impromptu Ramblings and


Jayaly said...

Great writing, again. I can see that this theme is really working for you.

Emilia Quill said...

That was so beautiful and sad. I love the description, I can empathize with poor Orpheus, though with me I feared no one would ever love me. Now I think, yeah right.

Meg McNulty said...

Thank you both! Much appreciated. I think the worst thing about Orpheus story is the double loss and grief. The first time she was stolen from him, but the second time it was all down to him... heart-breaking.

Lissa said...

I love Orpheus' tale, and I think you captured the essence of patience perfectly.

David A Ludwig said...

I love Greek myths and you present them with a power I haven't encountered in a long time. This is another brutal one though, so many were tragedies... Orpheus makes a great theme to work with though, and now I kind of want to write my own Orpheus story--with a happy ending dang it!

Unknown said...

I love the imagery created through this sentence: "Her loss is a dark, dripping cavern inside me." I can just picture blood dripping from a ribcage...

I love how you have approached the virtues!

Meg McNulty said...

@David please do! I would love to read it.

@Katherine - thank you! I enjoyed writing that, it's funny how sadness makes you feel hollow and soggy and happiness makes you feel full and sunny. I was trying to capture a bit of that.