When Birds Were Fish
by Steven McCabe
One could write poetically concerning When Birds Were Fish.
Or When Birds Were Suns. When Birds Were Moons.
Soaring and skimming from here to there, across times, flying into the rivers of the underworld.
Emerging silently into the forbidding underworld of Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphee, situated within the relic of postwar France: A modern world as silently old order as mythology itself.
Orphee, played by Jean Marais, interrogated by an underworld tribunal.
Stating his occupation as poet.
To write without being a writer.
The Princess of Death, played by Maria Casares, asking him for a pen (to sign her confession).
Her confession of love. He has no pen.
She laughs. She forgot he is not a writer.
The scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_o9l3OqPMk
Film images courtesy The Criterion Collection.