Demeter Denied

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Demeter Denied

All went awry, it seemed, with the pomegranate,
but the fault lay not in a fruit of blood-red grain
but in the fruit of woman’s womb, still knotted
after years.  Your son’s your son, she cried,

‘till he takes a wife, but your daughter–(she cried)–
should stay all her life.  And so the Goddess naughted
growth, cupping seeds on a palm of granite
furrowing soil against its grain,

as she sought the cleft of earth where her dear grain,
daughter, had strayed, where a burst of pomegranate,
some purpling explosion of spray, had cried
out to her and where her vines had knotted

with the deep. The clouds above the mother knotted
grey and the ground froze where she now cried
not–how could she leave me, the threshed grain
shushed–
and no tree would dare a pomegranate–

Till the Gods themselves cried back and forth ‘enough’,
and the sun like a pomegranate rose red,
and the grain once more
knotted gold, all for at least
a little.

***************************************

Here’s a drafty sort of poem for Bjorn Rudberg’s prompt on With Real Toads, to write a “quartina” or an abbreviated sestina.   (I’m not sure I’ve got the envoi exactly right–on the other hand, I think Bjorn invented this form, so I hope he’ll be indulgent.)

This one is based upon the myth of Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest, and her daughter Persephone, who was stolen away by Hades.  In her mourning search for Persephone, Demeter let all crops die out–finally, Helios, the Sun God, revealed to where Persephone was, but by the time, she had eaten a few grains of pomegranate in the Underworld and was bound forever to return a few months of every year (during which time her mother mourns her absence again.)  (Pic of pomegranates is mine.  All rights reserved.) 

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20 Comments on “Demeter Denied”

  1. Polly Says:

    I adore myths and love the way this poem is instantly identifiable without even mentioning Persephone…brilliant K 🙂

  2. ManicDdaily Says:

    Thanks, Polly. K.


  3. What a perfect poem, I always struggle with the envoi myself, and the poet’s freedom is always there. I admire how you weaved the myth into your words, and the words you’ve chosen are super brave. The pomegranate and granite especially so. You have let the form guide you gently into something new. An amazing poem really.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Bjorn. It was a good challenge–I find these sestina like things very hard – but they are always intriguing; and you gave very good advice re the words. k.

      On Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 1:57 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:

      >

  4. Sumana Roy Says:

    love this form and use of words perfectly blending…myth cleverly retold…

  5. Grace Says:

    Love the myth re-telling K ~ I specially like knotted/naughted &
    the ending lines with : and the sun like a pomegranate rose red~

  6. Mary Says:

    Ah, you wove the myth into the form very well. Not very easy to do but well accomplished.

  7. lolamouse Says:

    I’m so impressed that you were able to craft such a flowing poem from this difficult form! And you were able to use the word “pomegranate” so many times without it seeming to be overkill!

  8. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I felt certain that you would work your signature magic on this form, Karin. What a beautiful mosaic of words you have rendered.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Kerry. It was a very interesting challenge! A super grey – still wintry day here –5 degrees this morning, and similar yesterday–that put me in that mood. I think that maybe I should say the ground dried rather than froze in the last stanza before the envoi, but it is all so frozen here, it is hard to think in terms of anything else! k.

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    A pure pleasure the way you’ve taken the chosen words and made them speak in all their tones of voice, in phrases that both narrate and describe, delineate and expand the premise–a classic myth, retold so that its hidden facets shine under a modern sun–even if it is a very dim and cold sort of light. Really excellent poem, with the form, and independent of it.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. You should see some of my other attempts–all informed by this dratted book on clutter–and heavy on all the wool socks I would refuse to throw away. I finally decided those really weren’t working, so decided that one could always come up with something going classical—k.

  10. claudia Says:

    love how you use the pomegranate and interweave the images with the fruits of a woman’s womb… i thought you were talking about persephone… a dramatic story…

  11. M Says:

    palm of granite

    love that, and all of this ~

  12. Mama Zen Says:

    Beautifully done, K!

  13. Jim Says:

    A nice story, k. I am not up very well on the mythology so I check with Wikipedia when I come across the Greek for sure. You summary of a ‘drafty’ poem caused a smile. Mine was drafty as well, not time for mellowing or hardly proofreading. Long live Σιτώ!

    Your red pomegranates picture was nice as well..
    ..


  14. Wow! Your artful telling and the turning of pomegranate into palm of granite is brilliant.

  15. Susan Says:

    This telling of the myth is a Mother-gift as it takes the heart of Demeter and reveals the ache of her protest. This is my favorite myth for that bond mother to daughter and your rendering rocks it.


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