Welcome to dVerse! It’s the beginning of August and in the ancient Celtic calendar it’s Lughnasa. And if you’re more of a Saxon, it’s Lammastide. It’s time to celebrate the grain harvest.
Where does Persephone fit into this? Well, here’s the basic story:
Persephone was the beautiful daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, fruit and grains. She brought the spring with her and scattered flowers around her. Her uncle, Hades, the dark god of the underworld and the dead fell in love with her. One day, as she was enjoying the flowers and the sunshine he burst out of a cave and carried her off.
Persephone’s mother, Ceres, was distraught. She set off to search for her daughter. She neglected her duties as an agricultural goddess – crops failed and the people starved. I guess even Hades realised something was amiss as all those dead souls crowded into his kingdom.
Zeus, king of the gods (and brother to Hades and Ceres – and father to Persephone. I know), intervened. He brokered an agreement between Ceres and Hades – Persephone could return to her mother if she hadn’t eaten anything while she was in the underworld.
Unfortunately, it transpired that Persephone had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds. Faced with total starvation on earth, Zeus decreed that Persephone would spend 6 months in the underworld and 6 months above ground. And that’s how seasons came about – in the autumn and winter Ceres mourns for her daughter and vegetation dies back. In the spring, Persephone returns bringing fertility with her.
I should point out that there are lots of variations to this myth. In some, Persephone enters the underworld of her own volition. In some she’s tricked – or forced – into eating.
All images taken from Pinterest. There’s a lot of Persephone fan art on Pinterest, if you like that sort of thing.
How does this relate to Lammastide? Well, one interpretation of this legend is that Persephone personifies the grain – planted underground in the autumn, to grow and flourish in the spring. She is the spirit of the corn.
This is such a rich myth. There are some powerful archetypes here – the innocent young girl, the grieving mother, the reckless lover, the great king of the gods. Or perhaps you see a girl desperate to escape a possessive mother, or an angry woman who is prepared to destroy mankind to get what she wants. Is Hades an impetuous lover or a controlling coercive husband? What about Zeus? He’s head of this dysfunctional family. There are also those seasonal elements – spring merging into summer; the first cold mornings of autumn – those first frosts that kill off the last of the summer leaves. The bleakness of winter.
Tonight I’d like you to take inspiration from this myth. I’ve tried to keep my retelling as minimal as possible to give you space to use your imagination. Give me a poem that bubbles up from this mixed up family saga, a poem that smells of spring, or is touched by the dark fingers of the lord of the dead.
You know what to do:
- Write a poem
- Link your post back to here
- Link up to Mr Linky
- Wander the spring meadows and the deep underground caverns of your fellow poets and marvel at their creations
Hello dVersers and thank you, Sarah for hosting! I had a bit of fun with this prompt…went on a soap box that isn’t necessarily always mine.
It’s cloudy and cool in Boston today…..a nice change since July was so hot and had many rain storms with high high humidity.
I would love a gin and tonic please!
One G&T, ice and a slice!
Hello Sarah and All. Thank you very much for your telling of the story of Peresphone and prompt to write on some aspect of it. If you’re pouring today, one pint of Magners please.
P.S. Sarah, I just clicked on your Mr. Linky link and your poem isn’t there.
Oh! I’ll check that out.
One pint coming up!
Thank you and Cheers!
I got my UK /US scheduling wrong!!!
Can you fix it?
Yes, it should be up now!
Hello, fellow poets, and thank you Sarah for hosting! I’m in the UK at the moment, so I’m running a bit late to the bar…I look forward to reading all of the Persephone poems.
I don’t now what form my entry is written in. Each line has one syllable more than the one before, until seven syllables and then each line has one syllable less, the last line counting one.
I’m sure it has a name, but I can’t think of it!
Hello again! My entry is based on the Sept form. Read all about it at https://poetscollective.org/poetryforms/sept/
Such a wonderful prompt. Thanks, Sarah. I just watched something that had to do with Persephone, so it’s extra timely.
Thank you for hosting. I enjoyed writing to this prompt, thanks for the story too.
good evening dverse.
thank you sarah for this prompt. i have been looking for answers for my Draco series of poems. this prompt helped
Well, lovely poets, I’m afraid I have to hit the sack. See you tomorrow!
Actually, the first personal portable phone developed by Steve Jobs was analog, not digital. He called it the Purse-A-Phone — “purse” to denote the portability, with the A being for analog. The people who make up myths co-opted the name, with some change in spelling. Just offered this to help clear up the true history. Of course, it might be “fake news”? 🤔 I will ponder this before I write, if my muse is still speaking to me?
Anyway, thank you for hosting Sarah. 🙂👍✌🏼
This is one of my favorite topics. I had to sit on my hands not to just post one of the gazillions of essays and verses I’ve written on Lammas and Persephone.
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Reena Saxena said:
I wonder if eating pomegranate seeds was symbolic of losing virginity in some way…
Hi Sarah and all. Very interesting prompt. Looking forward to reading everyone’s take.
Years ago when I read GODDESSES IN EVERY WOMAN, I identified with Persephone. I felt kidnapped by a Hadean husband, and forced to live in an isolated suburb with no means to get out and about. GODDESSES IN OLDER WOMEN, years later, was a great comfort, and these days, I think I’ve moved more into Demeter and Hera territory.
Pingback: Eclipsed Lovers, Persephone, and Hades at Poetics #dVerse #sonnet – Selma
I’m so enamored with this. Greek Mythology, how lucky for me to read this. Thanks so much for the prompt. And I tried a Shakespearean Sonnet. (well, I neva!) But, yes, I did. Thanks for the fodder, as I have been beaten by the summer heat and everything else. Thanks ever so kindly.
Proud to have prompted your sonnet!
Never dull to play with Persephone, thank you Sarah.
Paula Light said:
This was fun! 🙂