A letter from the underworld
I’m not quite ready to resume the 30 Days meme, but I’m happy to share with my readers an unexpected poem:
Persephone writes to her mother
Dear mother, if you are well, I am well.
My lord is well, too, though I know you will not ask about him.
You do not want to hear about our life below,
yet it is of that life I must tell you: It is my life now,
as divine and immortal as the life we lived on Olympos
or in the flowered fields of earth.
Once I thought that I might want to marry Apollo.
He was so bright, so beautiful; his voice was as fair as his face,
his hands as skillful on the lyre as on the bow.
He never once drew near me or offered me any intrusion.
Now I know that brightness can also be cruel
and that dead flesh stinks in the sunlight.
I know that mortals need shade in which to rest,
night in which to sleep, and earth in which to dwell for afterlife.
It is cool here, and dark, and most who come are content to rest
in the earth. For those who have the instructions,
there are pleasant trees and flowing waters,
fruit that does not rot, views that do not pall,
a joy of the mind if little ecstasy for the senses.
But things need time to rot, mother. Without rot
they cannot grow. And I, like fruit fallen into the ground
uneaten, like bread gone stale on the shelf,
I needed time away from you to rot, and then
to grow anew in the cool shade of the deep earth
and the quiet steady light of my husband’s gaze.
I know you miss me, mother, but do not resent my absence.
The woman who comes back to you will love you even more
because the girl she was has died.