The Greeks told the story of Demeter and Persephone as a way of understanding the cycle of the seasons. Persephone, the goddess of springtime and only daughter of Demeter, was kidnapped by Hades, the god of the Underworld, to be his bride. When Zeus found out what happened, he ordered that Hades should return Persephone to her mother, as long as she had not eaten anything from the land of the dead. Unfortunately, Persephone had eaten seven pomegranate seeds. Zeus then decided that Persephone would spend six months of each year with Hades in the underworld and six months with her mother, Demeter.[1] While Persephone was in the underworld, Demeter, the goddess of grain and the harvest, mourned for her lost daughter, which brought about the seasons of Autumn and Winter. When mother and daughter were reunited, the earth rejoiced and brought forth the Spring. The following sonnet is a Christian retelling of this myth from Persephone’s perspective.

 

Persephone

 

Remember me, do not neglect my cries.

I’m waiting here beneath the frigid earth

Beside the deadly tree I now despise,

Its fruit the cause that brought on me the curse.

 

O gracious mother, come and lift me up!

Restore to me your bread to ease my hunger.

Let living streams of water fill my cup,

For nothing in this land can give me succor.

 

Stooping down and veiled in Heaven’s light,

Obedient to the God’s decree you’ve come.

Arrayed in blue and cloaked in lily white,

You wrap me in your arms and take me home.

 

And as we rise, I hear the herald sing:

The Winter’s passed. Behold the cosmic Spring!




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Citation Information

Alex Markos, “Persephone,” An Unexpected Journal: The Ancients 4, no. 3. (Fall 2021), 214-216.

Direct Link: https://anunexpectedjournal.com/persephone/ ‎


Endnotes

[1] See Ovid’s Metamorphoses, V.536-568.

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