Devon Balwit

A Most Pleasing Pain

Ekphrastic poem from Wounded Eurydice, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Art Institute of Chicago

Too much dancing! The gods can’t bear
the noise of human happiness. They send a viper

to quiet you. Little do they realize the volume
of lament, Orpheus wailing nightly in the gloom.

Down, he goes, then, to pursue your shade.
Sadly, gladly for us all, nothing in Hades

is what it seems, the you he finds perhaps
just a simulacra, yet alluring enough to stop

him in a backwards glance. He leaves empty-
handed. No sniffles: this ending is happy.

About the Author

Devon Balwit walks in all weather. Her most recent collections are Rubbing Shoulders with the Greats (Seven Kitchens Press 2020) and Dog-Walking in the Shadow of Pyongyang (Nixes Mate Books, 2021). Visit her online at