Blame It on Persephone!
As icicles clung to the frost-coated trees
I trudged through the snowdrifts that covered my knees,
I spoke to my mother, the wisest of all,
“Please could you tell me why spring turns to fall?
And, pardon me Mom, I don’t mean to sound glum,
But why is it each year the winter must come?”
That’s when mother said to me,
“Blame it on Persephone!”
“Say what?” I said, “Persefon-who?”
“Sit down; I’ll tell her tale to you…
Remember all those years ago
When Greek gods traveled to and fro?
When fathers ate their children whole,
And cousins played the spousal role?”
“Uh, sure,” I said. I guess I knew;
I’d heard those myths a time or two.
“Demeter the mother, the fourth wife of Zeus
(She’s also his sister – those Greeks played it loose),
Gave birth to one daughter, a beautiful child
Who skipped through the fields and drove the boys wild!
The world was her playground and springtime yearlong,
With flowers a’ plenty and birds filled with song.
No mother could wish for a more perfect state
Until that one moment – when then walked in fate.
Like a fault in an earthquake, the field split in two,
And Hade’s black chariot came barreling through;
He whisked up the maiden, who’d no chance to hide,
And took her down Under to make her his bride.
Though Zeus had some inkling of what’d transpired
Demeter was clueless, distraught, and quite tired.
She traversed the earth, for days upon days,
Just hoping for news of her daughter’s lost ways.
Demeter the mother who held nature’s strings
Shut off all the water to all of earth’s springs;
The plants could not blossom; the seeds could not grow
Because poor Demeter missed Persephone so!
She sought out the sun god, who oversees all,
And asked if he’d witnessed Persephone’s fall.
‘Don’t be dismayed Queen,’ god Helios replied,
Your daughter’s quite safe in your realm’s underside.
'Hades your brother, engrossed by her charm,
Captured your daughter, yet means her no harm.
His intentions are honest; the girl could do worse,
Then a man of his stature, and a man of his purse.’
‘Don’t worry he tells me?’ Demeter bewailed,
‘My daughter’s a prisoner; in darkness she’s jailed!
And so it shall be for as long as she’s there –
The earth will be barren; we ALL will despair!’
And just when it seemed as though life were to end
Zeus intervened and chose Hermes to send,
Hermes his son, made the trek down below,
To ask if his uncle would let his wife go.
It took some convincing, but Hades concurred,
Two-thirds up in sunshine, in darkness, one third,
The reason the girl wasn’t totally freed?
Persephone ate of that cursed “apple” seed!
And so it is said, for two-thirds of the year
Demeter’s quite happy, and spreads nature’s cheer,
But for those few months when without her she’ll dwell,
It happens quite lit’rally – all spring goes to Hell!”