Galina mentioned this poem in the comments to my post on Bacchic Orphic eschatology, so I decided to repost it. A couple notes may prove helpful.

First, the title is a quote by Pablo Neruda which can be Englished as, “There is a certain pleasure in madness, which only the madman knows.”

Secondly, it’s a riff on the interrogation scene found in the Gold Leaves, combined with the Oath of the Initiates from Euripides’ Cretans. (And some Matrix allusions, natch.) Although the Gold Leaves do not identify the underworld interlocutors I went with the tradition where the three sons of Zeus – Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aiakos – are responsible for passing judgment on the souls in Haides. They are aided in this process by the enigmatic figure seen flogging the initiate/bride in the fresco of the Villa dei Misteri at Pompeii, whom some identify as Dike, Nemesis or the Etruscan Vanth. I have my own theories on who she is, and how she came into the Bacchic orbit, but I’ll save those for another time.

And thirdly, the poem contains the message that we should not root our identities in the ephemeral things of this world, but in divine things that will abide even beyond the grave – which is why the ivy-shaped lamellae buried with the initiates are inscribed on gold foil, one of the purest and most enduring of metals.