In the first version, Persephone
is taken from her mother
and the goddess of the earth
punishes the earth—this is
consistent with what we known of human behavior,
that human beings take profound satisfaction
in doing harm, particularly
we may call this
sojourn in hell continues to be
pawed over by scholars who dispute
the sensations of the virgin:
did she cooperate in her rape,
or was she drugged, violated against her will,
as happens so often now to modern girls.
As is well known, the return of the beloved
does not correct
the loss of the beloved: Persephone
stained with red juice like
a character in Hawthorne—
I am not certain I will
keep this word: is earth
”home” to Persephone? Is she at home, conceivable,
in the bed of the god? Is she
at home nowhere? Is she
a born wanderer, in other words
replica of her own mother, less
hamstrung by ideas of causality?
You are allowed to like
no one, you know. The characters
are not people.
They are aspects of a dilemma or conflict.
Three parts: just as the soul is divided,
ego, superego, id. Likewise
the three levels of the known world,
a kind of diagram that separates
heaven from earth from hell.
You must ask yourself:
where is it snowing?
White of forgetfulness,
It is snowing on earth; the cold wind says
Persephone is having sex in hell.
Unlike the rest of us, she doesn’t know
what winter is, only that
she is what causes it.
She is lying in the bed of Hades.
What is in her mind?
Is she afraid? Has something
blotted out the idea
She does know the earth
is run by mothers, this much
is certain. She also knows
she is not what is called
a girl any longer. Regarding
incarceration, she believes
she has been a prisoner since she has been a daughter.
The terrible reunions in store for her
will take up the rest of her life.
When the passion for expiation
is chronic, fierce, you do not choose
the way you live. You do not live;
you are not allowed to die.
You drift between earth and death
which seem, finally,
strangely alike. Scholars tell us
that there is no point in knowing what you want
when the forces contending over you
could kill you.
White of forgetfulness,
white of safety—
there is a rift in the human soul
which was not constructed to belong
entirely to life. Earth
Asks us to deny this rift, a threat
disguised as suggestion—
As we have seen
in the tale of Persephone
which should be read
As an argument between the mother and the lover—
the daughter is just meat.
When death confronts her, she has never seen
the meadow without the daisies.
Suddenly she is no longer
singing her maidenly songs.
about her mother’s
beauty and fecundity. Where
the rift is, the break is.
Song of the earth,
song of the mystic vision of eternal life—
shattered with the strain
of trying to belong to earth—
What will you do,
when it is your turn in the field with the god?
For some reason which I cannot explain, I can hear Vivaldi’s “Winter” concerto from “The Four Seasons” in the back of my mind as I read this. Strange !
This is where the idea is born.
soft green meadows gently disappearing into fall
sounds of dying, scent of woodfire and candlelight
no separation between what is becoming
accept and be revealed
summer’s wild adventures
spring was a torrent of clarity, precious rain,
Earth coarse, ready for fecund pleasure
Queen of night in daylight’s realm
obsessed in flowering
roses and daffodils
valleys and nubile hills
all is vanity and laughing vice
“But, Mother, I’m not a nice girl.
I’m a creature of the breeze; secure in shadow;
alive in the cutting edge of the storm.”
Myth in revision
standing at the back of the playground
learning theater, tucking metaphors
through interstices of sense and dream
In spring, kicking stones along sandy riverbeds
reading the classics
expecting valor, glory, dramatic lines
the stink of rot where flowers bloom
ancient feuds, retaliations, rage
tyrannosaurus feeding future waste,
absorbing a zeitgeist of want, of predation
within greed swollen seed infectious fear
search for further truth
mythology frustrates, curls back on its own ash
burn with hazy summer wine and dance
feet connecting dust to sky — but only in designated
spheres, with designated peers, self-selected inhibitions
sweat out poison into the ground; now, eat the bounty
midsummer farce, far from clear, far from sunrise,
counting out the chimes as if time were treasure
silly summer madness as if what matters
is so circumscribed, so predictable
Early autumn firelight
reminiscent of witch hunts, ghosts of calvary,
dire warnings and endless hide and strike
the game, the funhouse, turns deadly
sanctuary calls, demanding sacrifice
the noble phoenix fed on frankenseed
can not rise
skies descend, dark mirroring
smell the woodsmoke, intoxicating, soft and sweet
masks the taste of bitter bile, secret vomiting
starving despite harvest’s gay array of treats
faded, nearly blind, falling in and out of
shamanic fever, primeval native dancers beyond sight,
ripple of tribal beat at the periphery
ecstatic vision dark/light/agony and brilliant breaks
seasons, years, moments of clarity
no need to travel, to invent boundaries
dance of the highlands warmth and sustenance
October 23, 2009
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