The Other Ligeia
written by Anna Wacker
Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “Ligeia”
"Ligeia! Ligeia! Like the ripples of a fine silk curtain caught by a summer afternoon breeze, she wafted in and out of his opiate dreams. Many were the moonless nights when she visited him in their bridal chamber lusting for her, forever ravenous like a bridegroom on his wedding night. And many were the smokey days when he was swallowed in a still narcotic stupor and wasted away. The hours passed, the weeks, the months, and Ligeia sadly watched her husband wither on a slow but unfaltering journey to the vale of death. Had he not the willpower to live? Had he a feeble will? When the Shadow darkened his emaciated face, he did not struggle. He did not fight fiercely, wanting to cling onto life, as she once herself had done. “Ligeia! Ligeia!” he shouted silently and passed. Ligeia was confused. The last words she had uttered with such passion in her own deathbed came recurrently to mind: "Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will." Should she feel betrayed, was her husband’s last deed an act of betrayal?
The scores of years that passed found the grieving Ligeia in the carcass of the whilom magnificent house, trapped within its decaying walls by her persistent willpower to live. Then one day, one gorgeous autumn day, she watched a young couple enter the crumbling drawing room. The man took out a pocketknife and carved their names in a crudely shaped heart on the wall, aching to leave inerasable proof of their love and ultimately their existence. “O divine Father, I thank Thee,” she uttered with a faint smile. At long last Ligeia set herself free and faded away in a beam of light.
Ligeia! O Ligeia! You have ultimately come to realize the Elysian truth. Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through either the loss of true love or noble purpose in this earthly and perishable existence of joy and tears."
Many warm thanks to the beautiful model, Eirini Kanata, for her wonderful work and remarkable patience. I would also like to thank my husband, Martin Wacker, for his endless support and assistance in the photo shoot.
Location: Villa de Vecchi at Prifitis Elias, Rhodes, Greece
© Anna Wacker Photography