This will be the last poem of the week. Thank you for indulging me.
As I mentioned previously, I thought about keeping this poem until Autumn, which seemed a more appropriate time of year. However, I've been spending a lot of time in the Underworld of late, and the Dark Lady, in all Her guises, is much on my mind.
Having hosted Lilith in my body more than once I have no fear of the shadow Goddesses, and Persephone's story has been a fascination of mine since high school. Even as a teenager I never could quite believe the accepted version of things--I imagined the young Maiden walking proudly through the ebony gates, shedding her innocence as Inanna shed her garments, no longer content to live under Her mother's thumb or the rule of patriarchal rapist gods. I wanted my Goddess to take the hand of Hades unflinchingly, no matter what the myths--all set down by men--would have me believe. When I looked at Persephone I did not see a terrified virgin screaming from the back of a chariot. I saw a Queen.
My mother thinks that I said no.
She's better off, in my opinion.
Last we met I was a slender creature,
with sprigs of thyme and flowers in my hair
barefoot and giggling, lily-white,
legs crossed if a man looked towards me.
Everything was boys and ribbons
a blush and a sigh
with downcast eyes.
There are days when I still wish for flowers
and wake to find jet roses at my feet.
I am full and red and ripened now,
not some tender little thing.
I have no further need for sonnets
or for ribbons in my hair
for now I speak the tongues of nightmare
and robe myself in spider's silk,
with shadow for my cloak.
She would have wed me to some bright-eyed boy
smart as a horse and hung like Hermes
who would follow me around
and paw at me with the lights out.
How do you tell your mother
you prefer to fuck in the firelight?
I would not sit idly in the glaring sun
fanning myself and drinking watered wine
when I can bathe in the flame of night
and rake my nails across Death's shoulders.
Grandchildren, she always said.
It never occurred to me to disagree;
but the choirs of the dead are far more pleasing
than the whine of a child hanging from my breast.
It would surprise her to know
that in this place, this woman need not bow her head
this woman is no mere wife,
and my word is also law.
Tell her for me, when you go back--
tell her that I was afraid,
that I begged to be sent home,
and that he held me down and pushed my knees apart.
It's best, I think, that she not know
my screams were not from fear.
Besides, I lost it when I was fourteen
behind the stable while she was away.
Perhaps for her my memory is best left lily-white.
Let her cry rape to Olympus if it pleases her.
Let her beg and weep for my release;
I swallowed far more than seeds that night
so I think her cause is lost.
She'll feel better if she thinks I grieve
for those scattered blossoms on the hillside
but I have learned to love the taste of blood
and I am not going anywhere.