Immortality

August 4, 2019

What is immortality?

Hera lays her head in the stars. Her fingers dance across the earth, as it spins on and on. Her eyes watch, face after face, as the wounds that once stung from betrayal, dull to a slight pang. Time. Immortality is time.

Hercules drifts between wedges of stone, hands lazily resting atop an engraving long since committed to memory. His ears are fooled by the echoes of laughter from another life. The fate of heroes is the dead they bury. Loss. Immortality is loss.

Persephone wanders in the fields, feet knee deep in the ground; senses ablaze from all the life that hums around her. A wicked grin is quick to dance across her face. A girl Goddess of Life to a Queen over the Dead. Change. Immortality is change.

Athena walks amongst a garden of statues. She remembers hair that was long brown tresses before it was scales. A gift and the power to give them, but no control in how it is used. Was it protection or something else? Punishment. Immortality is punishment.

Prometheus lifts heavy eyes to the heavens where the galaxies wrote fates he thought he could read. A blessing turned into a plague that ravaged mortality, twisting it into something devoid of the purity he once admired. Regret. Immortality is regret.

Ares sorts through rubble. Broken homes. Broken nations. Broken bones. Wars being fought from behind a desk instead of on the ground. Yet history is still being written in crimson, whether by a sword or a keyboard. Blood. Immortality is blood.

Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon sit and watch the end of the world, destruction the song they’ve hummed since birth. There will be era after era, for each end they will see a beginning. There is no Death that can threaten them. Eternity. Immortality is eternity.

L.H.Z

Persephone’s behaviour

March 10, 2019

We the daughters of the twenty first century are not mystified by Persephone’s behaviour. In school, we learn that Persephone is frolicking in a field when Hades kidnaps her and take her underground. Persephone’s mother Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, freaks out. Every plant in the world dies. Eventually Persephone is found… she looks anorexic. Hades says that she can leave if she must but first why doesn’t she eat this. It’s not till she emerges into the weird sunlight — it’s not till she’s in her mother’s kitchen sipping pumpkin soup—it’s not till Demeter sighs with relief to know her daughter didn’t eat anything down there — that Persephone makes her confession about the six pomegranate seeds…What Persephone will never mention is the rich unending night, the earthy smell of scotch on his breath, the way he mocked the universe and everyone in it but was so tender with the dead, with her, with beasts and ghosts. How low his voice got when he told her attempts would be made to separate them. Now, we the daughters of the twentyfirst century are going to marry men our mothers don’t quite love. These men seem dark to them, dangerous, lacking in good posture. We sit at our mothers’ tables, trying to explain why we have chosen to settle in distant, inhospitable cities…we suggest to our mothers that they read a certain Greek myth; they raise their eyebrows at us as they always do now-a-days; the grass begins to shrivel in the ground, and in the orchard the apples sicken on the branch.

Helen Phillips
The Mothers
And yet they were Happy

Hades Pitch

January 20, 2019

If I could just touch your ankle, he whispers, there
on the inside, above the bone – leans closer,
breath of lime and pepper – I know I could
make love to you. She considers
this, secretly thrilled, though she wasn’t quite
sure what he meant. He was good
with words, words that went straight to the liver.
Was she falling for him out of sheer boredom –
cooped up in this anything-but-humble dive, stone
gargoyles leering and brocade drapes licked with fire?
Her ankle burns where he described it. She sighs
just as her mother aboveground stumbles, is caught
by the fetlock – bereft in an instant –
while the Great Man drives home his desire.

Rita Dove

lost her daughter

March 27, 2018

yoni steaming

So much sorrow! Demeter has lost her daughter! And to lose this daughter is to lose the joy of life itself. Kore was the scent of flowers. Kore was the green and growing. Kore was the one who brought vitality to her mother’s garden. And when the first chill met the summer air – we knew that we had lost her once again.

The girl must awaken to the woman within. Kore journeyed far beyond her mother’s garden, and into the arms of her lover. Lord of the Underworld, god of the dead, ruler of the darkness beneath the earth… Hades…Pluto. He called to Kore and she answered. And she became Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and Healer of Souls. Light met Darkness. Life met Death. And Demeter, not knowing where her daughter had gone, grieved for the loss of innocence. The world froze.

River Roberts
The Courage of Spring
Between the Worlds, spring 2009

The Pomegranate

February 8, 2018

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
A city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
as an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The Pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance.
The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.

Eavan Boland

In effect, it is a new religion altogether, displaying unified religious attitudes and beliefs. As an example, one may mention the enormously important role of the gods and goddesses of the underworld… it is characteristic of the Hellenistic syncretism of the Greek magical papyri that the netherworld and its deities had become one of its most important concerns. The goddess Hekate, identical with Persephone, Selene, Artemis, and the old Babylonian goddess Ereschigal, is one of the deities most often invoked in the papyri…Hermes, Aphrodite, and even the Jewish god Iao, have in many respects become underworld deities. In fact, human life seems to consist of nothing but negotiations in the antechamber of death and the world of the dead. The underworld deities, the demons and the spirits of the dead, are constantly and unscrupulously invoked and exploited as the most important means of achieving the goals of human life on earth…

Hans Dieter Betz
Introduction to The Greek Magical Papyri

Write a Book a Year

November 25, 2016

aron-wiesenfeld

Well the wild ride into the earth was thrilling,
really, scared as I was and torn and sore.
I say what other woman could have managed it?
My life before then
picking flowers against my destiny
what glance, what meeting,
who was watching, what we don’t know we know,
the hour we chose and we are chosen.
And suddenly the dead my mission,
the dark my mission.
He’d find me pounding out the hours.
Spring is for women, spring clawing at our hearts.
We are pulled forward by our hair
to be anointed in the barren garden.
I want the dark back, the bloody well of it,
my face before the fire,
or lie alone on the cold stone and find a way
to sleep awhile, wake clear and wander.

Deborah Digges