Antinous for Everybody

I worship a dead gay teenager and you can too

POEM: The “rape” of Persephone

Tell me, Persephone, that it was not like this for you:
Kidnapped and made to sleep in a box, like a dog
in a crate, except when doing housework, or
being used as a sex toy. Kidnapped and kept
in a shed out back at the foot of the yard, while
his wife ignored the noises, the crying. Kidnapped
and kept indoors for ten years, with two other girls,
escorted everywhere, never able to answer questions or
to reach a public phone, while pregnancies came
and were brutally ended, inevitable as the rapes.
Tell me, Persephone, that Hades was not like this,
that the lord of the dead was a kindlier kidnapper,
a more gracious host, at least once you were out
of the sunlight and safely in his realm.
Tell me that you have never been raped, that
your own father did not force himself upon you,
that you did not mourn the death of a son
taken away and torn apart–or if you cannot
tell me this, then tell me that the Furies await
the kidnappers and the rapists, those who traffic
in women and children, that you will bear witness
to their suffering and make it prolonged in honor
of all those women and children down the centuries
who had no one to witness theirs.

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3 thoughts on “POEM: The “rape” of Persephone

  1. This is powerful…there’s a lot of questions around the entire thing, not in the least made any clearer by the differences in social institutions and definitions of words now in comparison to the past. Nonetheless, the sentiment here is clear, and important, so thank you for that.

    (And I hope you start writing more, and more often…I know I’ve been doing less lately, but we’re ramping up for October, which is going to be crazy this year…even crazier than usual with the WPR and having a proper shrine at which to hold Foundation Day, amongst other things!)

    Like

    • Ever since I was a teenager, I have been of the “they eloped” school of thought, that Persephone running off with Hades was the original “girls like bad boys” story. One day recently, I was reading Potnia, BA’s Demeter anthology (I have the Persephone one, too), and it suddenly hit me that Demeter was in essentially the same position regarding Kore as a woman whose daughter has run away, or been abducted, and maybe she doesn’t know which… and I felt just shattered. Middle age, it changes things. And I came across an article about one of the women who had been held captive for a decade or more, and this poem is the outcome.

      I am trying to write more, and there is stuff I want to talk to you about… trying to process things into an email for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I look forward to receiving and reading that whenever you have the time! 😉

        I know what you mean about middle age–I think I’m there already (by most premodern standards, I certainly am!), and I have definitely noticed that post-30, I’m a great deal more likely to react in unexpected emotional ways to things that would have just passed by me easily earlier in life. Not unlike imagination (if handled and fed properly), empathy is one of those things that increases with age, and the two of them together are all anyone has ever needed to be able to understand someone else’s experiences, no matter what they are. It’s only people who have purposefully stifled one or the other of those capacities who does not become more sympathetic towards others with age, I think.

        Like

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