As you’ll notice the two poems are quite different in style and content, but I’ve grouped them together in Dream Time since both were written while poised on that slender edge of dreaming into another time and place.
A Special Word of Thanks:
A big thank you to my dear husband, Ritchie D. Kendall, who took this photograph on a hill in Greenwich in 2013 when we were living in London.
Crow on a Willow Branch, Japanese woodprint, Library of Congress woodprint
Persephone’s abduction by Hades is swift, violent and over so quickly that no one hears her scream except for Hecate, a goddess who helps Demeter find out where she has gone. Could there be anything worse for a mother than to lose a child? Demeter’s grief is profound. This is the Second Lamentation of Demeter.
The Abduction of Persephone, Hans Von Aachen, 1587
To hear me read this poem, please click on the link below and wait a few seconds for it to begin.
The Second Lamentation of Demeter
The earth groaned, then opened briefly.
That’s all it took.
He appeared out of nowhere
Like a wild flume of fire,
The flickering golden chariot with
Four black stallions at full gallop.
He sprang upon her so quickly
That when the earth closed back
Upon itself like a wound healed over,
All that was left was a circlet of flowers
That she and the daughters of Oceanus
Had been stringing together. Irises, roses,
Violets, hyacinths, and the faded blossoms
Of sweet narcissus plucked by her hand.
The scar in the earth and grasses torn apart
Were all that told the story.
I always knew he watched her…
I sensed when he was around.
Clouds gathered overhead,
Shadows clothing him in darkness,
To whom sunlight is a stranger.
My sweet Persephone is gone now,
Gone with him.
My sweet child is his.
Persephone’s abduction is well represented in art. It is my personal opinion that one need look no further than the magnificent sculpture done by Bernini in 1622. The details of the hands and arms as well as the force and resistance between their two bodies is powerful. Persephone’s tear stained cheek tells us more than any words can.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, The Abduction of Persephone, 1622, Galleria Borghese in Rome
September was ready to slip into October
and autumn skies were filled with color
Clusters of clouds
and let the sun peer through
I imagined you as Icarus taking a risk
and trying to fly high above your depression,
gliding for a while like a broad-winged hawk,
the cool air making you unaware
of just how close
to the sun
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The story of Icarus has always fascinated me. I think as long as people have lived, some have always wished they could fly like the birds. There are so many beautiful paintings and drawings of this classic myth, but in my mind’s eye I see only the simple picture of water with a feather floating on it—a reminder of how easily a dream and a life can come to an end. My Icarus poems were written when…