His quiet songs of mourning – single notes
held almost to sweet agony then fall away
leaving a hint of echo – he would play
deep in the forest. Nobody devotes
time to perfecting pain except for those
who only know its language now, forget
the joys that they have lost for good, and yet
make loss their god. And so Orpheus goes
to death. His quiet keening comes to ears
that love another music, loud and coarse,
clashing of pans, the thigh-bones of a horse
used to beat time, harsh Bacchic songs. His tears
are seen as insult, not as tragic art.
Wine’s outraged devotees tear him apart.