In the garden of the Hesperides, where
the golden apples grew, Orpheus caressed
strings that out-sang the sirens, charmed hell,
and softened the heart of Death. The hills crept close
to listen, and marvelous trees, full of dumbstruck birds,
bent toward him.
—————The great crowd too bent forward, tense.
Keepers stabbed torches into the starved bear’s wounds,
and it stormed the criminal garbed as Orpheus.
The coliseum bawled for justice—or mercy,
if the singer sang as well as legend claimed.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.