The Woman’s Clutch

by OWAIN GLYN EVANS

They say that women have a hypnotic control over men, not in the way of today though. I’ve never really understood that, having never met a woman with the opinion. I do know, however, that my own mother was a very powerful woman. Not in status, but in voice. Yet it was the way that she controlled a situation and, indeed, the way she controlled men that confused me the most. She’d have this way in which she could get others to believe what she wanted to believe, even when she was wrong. I never knew whether to admire that or not. She would tell me of things she did to protect me when I was a child. Such stories I often thought preposterous at the time, and yet as I grew fonder of them I grew to believe in them. Always listen to women, she used to say to me in that commanding tone, they’ll show you the way. Such a presence, and deep velvet tongue that would purge the hearts of a thousand men.

This is just meant to be that but stronger. So strong you can’t ignore it, apparently. Not that you could ever ignore my mother.  I don’t know if this can be true though. After all, if it was true there’d be no one alive to tell of it. Still, one of the members of the crew will be handling it, using the information we’ve been given anyway. I’ll be tying the men down as a precaution and there has been talk of pouring wax in ears but I shouldn’t think that it’ll come to that. If it is true then we’ll be okay. We’ve got the lyre and the fellow is pretty good on it too. He can play such a sweet song on that instrument that I believe it’s capable of turning stone to flesh.

That’s another thing my mother used to say to me, during my rather petulant childhood days. She’d been trying to teach me the art of music. Music will save the soul, she’d say with a firm beauty. Quite apt considering the circumstances actually. It’s strange how when I think of my mother I think lovely thoughts. Considering what she’d done, anyway. She should have told me. If I think about it, about it all, then I’m only on this silly old quest because of her. It was almost as if she knew it had been coming, that she had timed it so well as to escape punishment herself. Thinking about it all now, it seems as if she was the only person ever to be in control.

We’re approaching the islands now. The men have been prepared; they’ve been tied down and some have indeed waxed their ears. Rather extreme I’d say. The sea seems a bit rougher and the wind has become soundless. It’s almost as if the air itself has become an invisible musical score ready to be inked. So soundless though, it frightens… I hear it. I think. Yes, it’s beautiful. Where is my rope? I am not bound. In all the other preparations and my thinking of mother I’ve forgotten to prepare myself. Damn her.

But that sound. It is beautiful. My ears are filled with sensuous music. My heart is filled with sumptuous joy. I could cry with delight! That song. It is beautiful. I must get near it. I must have it. They must have me!

But what’s this? Such sweeter music. Oh, the masterful hands of my good fellow man, play on! Play on, Orpheus! Your music shall keep me from death and the bitter clutch of woman.

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