The Second Lamentation of Demeter ~ (Poetry and Myth)

Narcissus, 1912 by John William Waterhouse

Narcissus, 1912 by John William Waterhouse

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 Rape of Proserpine, Hans Von Aachen, 1587

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.

O, horror…
My sweet child is his.

circlet of flowers 2

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 Rape of Proserpina, 1622, Galleria Borghese in Rome

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, The Abduction of Persephone, 1622, Galleria Borghese in Rome