Proserpine Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874, Tate Britian
The idea came to fruition from a short series of fractured lines in the ongoing River project:
1418. Bitter as Persephone, digging into the fruit of ripe pomegranates, believing the world had given up on her.
1419. Bitter at her mother for forgetting her, as she believed she was abandoned to the fate of the Underworld.
1420. Bitter-sweet as the seeds themselves, soft on the tongue.
1421. The fruit fresh from the Underworld gardens.
1422. Where witches tend the wilding orchard of dark figs, blood mangoes, blue shadowy berries.
Near the close of the cycle of stories, she is in Hades, after a series of months—there is a moment in an Underworld garden she “accidentally” swallows pomegranate seeds, presumably because of hunger. Yet a twist on the usual story could show she intentionally takes the food as sudden resolve to remain in the Afterlife, an act of giving up because her mother apparently has abandoned her.
The poem would work within a self reflection of the bitterness Persephone feels. Anger at the lack of connection, community, lack of family. This is the moment she shifts from innocent child victim to experienced embittered woman. It would attempt to explain how she became an Ancient world goddess for witches, for magic and folktale crones.
A sympathy poem told in first person.
In the past, a visual concentration on an object, random and mundane, would help sink the consciousness into a healthy limbo: but tonight the mind wanders, scattered ideas arrive unbidden—as if a large mug of coffee was consumed moments ago.
The body pulses with awkward awareness.