Why did you turn back,
that hell should be reinhabited
of myself thus
swept into nothingness?

Why did you turn?
why did you glance back?

So you have swept me back–
I who could have walked with the live souls
above the earth.
I who could have slept among the live flowers
at last.

so for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders among moss of ash.

What was it that crossed my face
with the light from yours
and your glance?

What was it you saw in my face —
the light of your own face,
the fire of your own presence?

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

6 Comments

  1. anuma from alipur says:

    Here is the poem in which eurydice is accusing orpheus, her lover for being arrogant. Euridice has trampled a snake by mistake and died, orpheus goes underworld to take her back, but his request is recieved on one condition that he must not look back until she has crossed the underworld and reached to the earth again but orpheus looks back just on the verge of ending of underworld and Euridice is doomed again.

  2. Jacob says:

    That’s only the first of 7 parts of this poem…

    And you can’t just say it’s “about” something. The poem is a poem. You can’t deny anything that’s written in it or elevate something else to the only important thing.

  3. Natalie says:

    Personally, i think it is the arrogance of men and their inability to trust women. He was unable to tust the fact that she is with him, right behind him following him and wants to be with him just as much as he wants to be with her. and in this peom she asks him why did he look back, why couldnt he just trust that she is right there behind him without looking. why couldnt he just feel it…

  4. Kia says:

    I don’t think this talks about her being influenced by another person. Eurydice in the ancient Greek myth was Orpheus’ wife, she died and was sent to hell. Orpheus could go and take her back at a condition: that in the way back in the world he should not have turned his face to look at her. Of course he did, that’s why he could not have his wife back. “Thanks” to him Eurydice couldnt leave hell.
    The topic of this poem is the arrogance of the male, who can neither wait nor respect any conditions..he just does what he wants and what in that moment feels like, without caring too much.

  5. Pandora says:

    I think this is about a fall from grace, and someone being influenced by a person they don’t admire or even particularly like. They blame that person for their “reinhabitance of Hell” only to relfect a little deeper and discover that they are not so very different from that person afterall.

    PS- Don’t do drugs, Nick! It kills you. Plus if you aren’t high you might actually come up with something articulate to say.

  6. nick says:

    this is a fantastic poem and this is why im on drugs

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