The Hades Tanka - Written for the Rise Japan fundraiser at York St John University

1. Persephone

From hotel windows
peer down past the hissing gold
and falling flame of
midnight streets to find the door
to the underworld ajar.

Night revellers stumble
through corridors hearing my
fateful song. All for
one sweet pomegranate seed
I married myself to Hell.

Forgetfulness chair
beckons each bitter winter,
but for the sight of
a ladybird ascending,
link by link, a young girls watch.

2. Orpheus

A wide green river
its bed as deep as an ache.
A head – no body –
drifts by, its ferry a lyre,
it’s mouth humming baleful songs.

I faltered away
from here, the brightly lit air
that lapped at my voice,
through the black, worm-eaten ground
to you my whirling exile.

A black labyrinth
entered, I startled ghost roads.
One descending soul
through the madness of music
to lose you a second time.

3. Eurydice

Butterflies of ash
break away in my numb palm.
The shades hiss despair,
their limits porous as web.
Smoke rises from them like wings.

I dreamt an angel
holding the name of shadow.
I forget his songs.
My memory now burned of
the ability to dream.

His hand grips my wrist,
my angel breasting the void,
entwined in passage.
But, he faltered and I was
betrayed to the emptiness.


poetrytutor said…
This is absolutely stunning. Incredible work.