Requiem for Eurydice

The sunlight dims before my eyes,
__My fingertips lose yours,
And as my whispered farewell flies,
__The last crescendo soars.
Then one breath hovers, trembles, dies—
__The audience all roars.



Mary Virginia Vietor is a high school senior from Phoenix, Arizona. She enjoys playing the harp, writing, painting, and taking long walks with her corgi. Her work has previously appeared on the Dappled Things literary blog. 

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10 Responses

  1. John E. Norvell

    Great job Mary! A beautiful rendering of that scene. It left me wanting more!

  2. jd

    My sentiments exactly, John. I would like
    more too, Mary. This verse is so good. If
    I may be so bold – would you consider
    beginning the final line with All instead of
    where it is?

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      If she were to do that, she would spoil the meter. The pattern of the even-numbered lines is iambic trimeter. If she started the last line with “All,” it would be completely out of sync with other two.

  3. LTC Roy E. Peterson

    Mary, like the others, your beautiful stanza made me wish for more.

  4. Joshua C. Frank

    Great job Mary! After reading it, I was disappointed by how short it was, it was that good.

    I’m blown away by your bio saying you’re a senior in high school—to write such great poetry at such a young age!

  5. Morrison Handley-Schachler

    A very beautiful short poem. You have done a tremendous amount with a few words.
    I’m guessing this is in reference to the Monteverdi opera.

  6. Margaret Coats

    This impressively spirited poem may refer to a musical interpretation of the myth, such as the Monteverdi opera Morrison Handley-Schachler suggests. But in visual arts, there are some images in which Orpheus plays his harp during the ascent from Hades, coming out as he went in, relying on the power of music. Eurydice holds his arm or shoulder, or merely follows him. He does not look back until he is out of darkness, but then sees Eurydice has not yet emerged and is slipping away from him. One modern painting shows a multitude of skulls surrounding her. If Mary Virginia Vietor imagines something similar, then Orpheus plays the last crescendo too soon, and Eurydice sings farewell diminuendo. And the audience roar comes from the surrounding shades.

    My commendation as well, Mary Virginia, on the haiku you submitted for the competition. Well done there, too!

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    There is beauty in brevity and tragedy… this skillful and impactful poem says so. Very well done, indeed!


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