Yet the story of Orpheus, it occurs to me, is not just about the desire of the living to resuscitate the dead but about the ways in which the dead drag us along into their shadowy realm because we cannot let them go. So we follow them into the Underworld, descending, descending, until one day we turn and make our way back.
This is what's happening: together we are descending the stairs of the heart, which lead to the sources. (It is a secret staircase. I knew it existed. Which is why I avoided it. Because it leads to the other-life, deep, underground, the fluvial, the painful.) We are in the process of descending into the depths of the heart. To where bodies communicate with each other.
It's funny. I met a man once who did a lot of mountain climbing. I asked him which was harder, ascending or descending? He said without a doubt descending, because ascending you were so focused on reaching the top, you avoided mistakes. The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature, ' he said. 'You have to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.
They walked off on the earthy path, laughing not quite naturally, for they could hardly help being pleased by the momentary attention of descending passengers and by their own almost meritorious youth.
Consider my Lover; the yellow church of his skin, the clean wells of his ears; How the notes of a song come to him like birds descending on a power line; How in his absence I am of two throats-each of them cramped.