When I was a teenager, I wrote a lot of poetry. I read about big things: Love. Death. Beauty. It was then when I read about Elysian Fields (or Elysium.) In Greek mythology, it was the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous where they would remain after death, to live a blessed and happy life, indulging in whatever employment they had enjoyed in life. I remember writing a song entitled “Elysian Fields,” and I can remember the sound of the chorus in a minor key… but have long lost the lyrics.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Elysium is described as a paradise:
to the Elysian plain…where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind that they may give cooling to men.
— Homer, Odyssey (4.560–565)
I love the word “elysian.” As I write this now I am listening to Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” and it is truly elysian.
There is a delicate peace listening to it…a perfect placement of memories in my head….a quiet lament. Bittersweet Paradise.