Persephone: Creative Prompt

1. Dramatic Monologue: Choose a character from the myth. Take five minutes and write down everything you can think of that this character would say to someone they wouldn’t normally talk to. Now write a poem in this character’s voice.
2. Quasi-Elegy: Make a list of things you have lost but gotten back. Now make a list of things in your life that move in cycles, coming and going at regular intervals. Choose something from one of these lists and write a poem about it, including one or more references to the Persephone myth.
3. Form: Try writing a poem in the form of a test (like A.E. Stallings’ “First Love”) or another mundane, standardized form (job application, recipe, etc.). OR write a mirror poem (like Natasha Trethewey’s “Myth), where the second half of the poem uses the same lines as the first half in reverse order.

Post your poems in the comments! At our meeting on 3/1 we will all read our poems aloud and discuss our experiences with the process of writing them.

9 replies on “Persephone: Creative Prompt”

Persephone, Demeter, Hecate and Baubo
2000 years of Eleusinian Mysteries

A maiden, a mother, a crone
And Baubo
The three eras of womanhood’s
Sexual metamorphosis
Of desire, procreation, and decline
Of perpetuation of the species
Man and God’s nemesis
The dance of Life,
Death, Birth and Rebirth
The Eleusinian mysteries
A feminine religion
Born from the underworld
Hecate’s deceit or deliberate
Enticement
Persephone’s taste of forbidden fruit
Baubo’s lasciviousness
Demeter’s power over life and death
No more fear-the crone’s gift
Ergot- visions of wonder
2000 years of annual devotion
GONE
The entire biblical era annihilated
No Christ, No cross
NOW
Re-emergence
Re-creation
Re-demption
A feminine mystery
Re-told for the Ages

I sent to Susan Shaw’s email two images ” Persephone” and “Hades” which are etchings like the one two weeks ago “Maenad”

Persephone is reaching out of the vase to find out “who is guilty?” To find who is circled by the ring of guilt. Certainly not herself! Hades stands waiting (indignant) everyone else has disappeared, just the two of them are left. Hades roars out “you started all of this!”, but Persephone just looks at the ring, which slowly starts to hum and shine.

Excited Persephone lifts her eyes straight into Hades eyes and raises the ring towards him. He thrusts his trident out to shield himself and the vibrarations emanate with a power undisputed from the slender silver ring.
“What do you want from me?” He roars and the waters that surround his throne quake and sea creatures hide. But the ring floats surely towards him. Persephone is afraid but also amazed at her newly found strength with the ring – the ring of guilt which finds the truth.

Persephone raises her head and can see the moment has come, she decides her future, not her mother or Hades or Zeus. “I am Spring, Summer, Fall and yes, Winter too. I love all but none completely” and then turns and reaches her hand out and and walks out of vase.

Outside of the vase Persephone finds herself alone, she says in shock “yes” ! then discovers the ring is on her finger. She is home.

PERSEPHONE RIGHT NOW!
AMBER HEARD AND JOHNNY DEPP
by Luke Casipe

Hey, Amber
Forever Amber
What the Hell is going on?
No more good times
with Mistah Depp
So watch your step!
Your word against his,
his word against you
What the hell is wrong
with the two of you?
Will we ever know
the entire truth
Between Hollywood
and Hell
Don’t ring those
relationship bells
ever again.

Hecate Revealed

Her gray hair hangs down like loose rope
Encircling her bronzed face
Ancient eyes taking in the entire world
She sees through the passages
Knows the thread of life
Knows what must be done
Knows her younger clear skinned self
Will smell the narcissus
And Descend
Because she must
Because through this descent
She will create life
Hecate knows, she is the weaver
Hidden in the shadows
Invisible, casting her wide silken net
She has done it all a thousand times
Before and after.
She is the knower
Her dried up womb
Lives now through her younger self
A pact with the mother
And with the father
And with the child who is to come
Hecate knows what must be done.

Apologies to Homer

So Persephone a maiden narcissistic by design
Happened upon, or so she thought, that narcissistic vine.
Its blossoms beckoned. It was, she reckoned, certainly a sign.
Spring had sprung. A gift from Mom. Birthrights of the divine.

Reaching, touching, smelling, clutching.
From head to toe her body blushing
When through a hidden portal
Leapt Adonis, not a god but mortal.

Your dear mom sent me running to tell you she had signed
Restraining orders against your uncle. He must have lost his mind
To think that you would give this up and spend days and nights confined
To a lifeless wardrobe of black and blacker. A world where suns ne’er shine.

Persephone and Adonis had met some time before.
So much alike he had promised he’d be back for more.
Both carefree, striking, loving, laughing. Both played hard to get.
And the issue of mortality? They’d soon part but with regrets.

To placate Zeus and Hades too who’d arranged the incestual match
Demeter crafted both snow and ice. She was the one to hatch
The idea of winter games and winter glory. Zeus craved Olympic sports.
While Hades accustomed to getting his way, would take his case to the courts.

Hades and Demeter in Haiku. [Should be in parallel columns]
by Sandy Farley

HADES
The underworld is mine:
Realm of gems and ore.
Why does it scare people so?

My dwellers have finished Life
I live forever;
She beautiful, immortal.

We belong among the gods
unlike my subjects
Eros chose her for my love.

I swept her off of her feet
As strong men may do
My love convinced her at last.

I honored her with riches
But could not stop her
From wishing to see the trees.

A woman, not a child, it’s
Persephone’s right
To love, to wed, to bring life.

“My love for you differs from
The love I bear to
She who bore and first loved me”

I beg you to stay, my love.
She begs you to go.
Hermes will you mediate?

“What has she eaten with you?”
“Some pomegranate.”
“How many seeds?” “I ate six.”

Then, six months she stays below
Then six up above.
Demeter and Hades share.

DEMETER
You are my sweetest flower
O daughter of mine
Live with me, here forever

May Eros’ arrow miss you.
This is paradise.
Stay close by my watchful eye.

“I will be in the meadow.”
That was her last word.
Did I feel the earth tremble?

Did you see where she ventured?
My Persephone.
“A king in his chariot!”

Hades has taken her down
To make her his queen
Where I may not go and come.

O Zeus! This is most unfair.
“He is my brother.
He has dominion below.”

I will not hear people cry.
No grief exceeds mine
I will not send them warm rains.

Mortals send Hermes to beg.
“Crops die, birds are mute.
When will you show Earth mercy?”

Ask the rich lord beyond Styx
When she will be free.
When may I create again?

O joy of life returning
Temporariness
Makes springtime even sweeter.

Centaurs, Fates, oracles, muses, Apollo. Leto
Hades
The underworld is mine:
Realm of gems and ore.
Why does it scare people so?

My dwellers have finished Life
I live forever;
She beautiful, immortal.

We belong among the gods
unlike my subjects
Eros chose her for my love.

I swept her off of her feet
As strong men may do
My love convinced her at last.

I honored her with riches
But could not stop her
From wishing to see the trees.

A woman, not a child, it’s
Persephone’s right
To love, to wed, to bring life.

“My love for you differs from
The love I bear to
She who bore and first loved me”

I beg you to stay, my love.
She begs you to go.
Hermes will you mediate?

“What has she eaten with you?”
“Some pomegranate.”
“How many seeds?” “I ate six.”

Then, six months she stays below
Then six up above.
Demeter and Hades share.

Demeter
You are my sweetest flower
O daughter of mine
Live with me, here forever

May Eros’ arrow miss you.
This is paradise.
Stay close by my watchful eye.

“I will be in the meadow.”
That was her last word.
Did I feel the earth tremble?

Did you see where she ventured?
My Persephone.
“A king in his chariot!”

Hades has taken her down
To make her his queen
Where I may not go and come.

O Zeus! This is most unfair.
“He is my brother.
He has dominion below.”

I will not hear people cry.
No grief exceeds mine
I will not send them warm rains.

Mortals send Hermes to beg.
“Crops die, birds are mute.
When will you show Earth mercy?”

Ask the rich lord beyond Styx
When she will be free.
When may I create again?

O joy of life returning
Temporariness
Makes springtime even sweeter.

Demeter`s Words to Women

I want these words to come out like birds
that leave the nest of my thoughts
and somehow sweeten your ears.

I am Demeter, goddess of growth
but I am a woman…like you.

We have the ability through an ephemeral thread
give life and become mothers,
we are daughters, wives and much more.
We are part of the Universe
our life has to do with everything we see,
we are part of it.

We fight with the fear of death
with the lost in different forms
sometimes we suffer betrayal and discrimination,
but everything should be taken away
no more pain
no more trying to find bits of ourselves
and put them together like a puzzle.

The moon is rising over the dark horizon,
the small voice in our head is not crying anymore.
Now it is time to open the door of our understanding,
it is time to take a deep breath
feel the melody of our heart
feel the peace floating in our soul
feel our body like a feather
and our smile will light our way.
At that moment
the goddess that you all have will flourish.

How to Let Go of your Adult Daughter

Step 1: Accept this as part of life’s cycle.
You must have known this was coming.
Most daughters leave their mothers,
Many daughters marry,
All daughters die.
Yes, even us, even the deathless – in some way, at least.
Must you you punish the world?
It handed to you what’s delivered to all
who bear a baby girl.

Step 2: Give me space.
You know exactly where I am and exactly who I’m with.
Why trample the earth in search of me?
The more you cry “Persephone,”
The deeper I’ll descend to drown out the sound.
I take no pleasure in the begging, the desperation,
in seeing the dried bones of the mortals and of the trees.
I find no comfort in the raw cold of your sky’s frozen weeping.

Step 3: Allow me my privacy.
You over-probe,
demand to know what goes on between a king and his queen.
“Did you accept the seeds? Did you want to eat?”
Maybe I was hungry. Maybe I wasn’t.
Maybe I thought it best to eat first and decide later.
What difference does it make?

Step 4: Let me make my own mistakes.
Like it or not, I’ve accepted my place
Among the gold and the silver, in Darkness and in Terror,
Until life do us part for half the year.
I’ve forged a new name and grown beyond my core.
No need to speak of regret, now,
Now that I have everything.

Step 5: Embrace our changing relationship.
Nothing is created or destroyed, only transformed –
Meaning, I was never never really born and you never really lost me.
A daughter is simply the part of her mother that renews itself over and over,
the bloom that sprouts and rots and sprouts again without ceasing.

Step 6: Stop worrying. I still need you.
Seasons cannot and should not last forever.
So please, try to enjoy what time we do have together.
Let the flowers open their mouths and join in our laughter.
When the shades call, I will always leave,
But I will always return to you
bearing one more Spring.

How to Let Go of your Adult Daughter

Step 1: Accept this as part of life’s cycle.

You must have known this was coming.

Most daughters leave their mothers,

Many daughters marry,

All daughters die.

Yes, even us, even the deathless – in some way, at least.

Must you you punish the world?

It handed to you what’s delivered to all

who bear a baby girl.

Step 2: Give me space.

You know exactly where I am and exactly who I’m with.

Why trample the earth in search of me?

The more you cry “Persephone,”

The deeper I’ll descend to drown out the sound.

I take no pleasure in the begging, the desperation,

in seeing the dried bones of the mortals and of the trees.

I find no comfort in the raw cold of your sky’s frozen weeping.

Step 3: Allow me my privacy.

You over-probe,

demand to know what goes on between a king and his queen.

“Did you accept the seeds? Did you want to eat?”

Maybe I was hungry. Maybe I wasn’t.

Maybe I thought it best to eat first and decide later.

What difference does it make?

Step 4: Let me make my own mistakes.

Like it or not, I’ve accepted my place

Among the gold and the silver, in Darkness and in Terror,

Until life do us part for half the year.

I’ve forged a new name and grown beyond my core.

No need to speak of regret, now,

Now that I have everything.

Step 5: Embrace our changing relationship.

Nothing is created or destroyed, only transformed –

Meaning, I was never never really born and you never really lost me.

A daughter is simply the part of her mother that renews itself over and over,

the bloom that sprouts and rots and sprouts again without ceasing.

Step 6: Stop worrying. I still need you.

Seasons cannot and should not last forever.

So please, try to enjoy what time we do have together.

Let the flowers open their mouths and join in our laughter.

When the shades call, I will always leave,

But I will always return to you

bearing one more Spring.

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