I will take you from light
into darkness, through dappled shade.
You’ll scream, you’ll fight —
but I’ll have my way.

Your mother will weep,
she’ll weep and she’ll mourn —
the earth will fall barren.
Her hair will be shorn and
she’ll put on a veil and
harbor her sorrow while
you pass into the pale.

And I will wait for you
to inure to the darkness,
to take to it like
a fledging bird takes to wings.
I will bring you in the darkness
cherries and figs and other
sweet things, honey and
myrrh for your bath
till you smell of death and
pomegranate seeds,
your favorite sweet,
that glisten like rubies
in the realm the deep.

Notes on the poem:

This poem is inspired by the mythological story of the rape of Persephone. In the context of Greek mythology, the word “rape” signifies abduction, although the story is probably also a story of sexual rape. In the story, the god Hades (god of death and the underworld) abducts Persephone, the daughter of Demeter (goddess of the harvest). Demeter becomes inconsolable, and the harvest fails. Meanwhile, Persephone holds out in the underworld. She knows that if she eats or drinks any of the food of the underworld, she’ll have to stay there forever.

Eventually, Zeus intercedes on Demeter’s behalf and Persephone returns home — only to reveal that she has in fact eaten six pomegranate seeds while in the underworld. For this reason, she must remain there six months out of the year. The myth is also an explanation of the seasons.

If you enjoyed “In the Darkness,” check out some more of my poetry!

All poetry is housed on The Poetry Deck.

You might especially enjoy my poem “Goddess” and my poem “In the Garden,” as well as my short story “Elegy.”

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