The Story of Spring

john marshall gamble The Story of Spring

Painting by John Marshall Gamble

This poem is loosely based on the Greek myth of Persephone and her seasonal encounter with the Underworld. It is composed as a PANTOUM, a type of poetry wherein the second and fourth lines of each four-line stanza become the first and third lines of the next. It’s a most challenging form to work with in that it required me to rhyme the words ‘seen’ and ‘care’ thirty times each! You’ll notice that I resorted to a little repetition and phonetic license in the case of the former. Learn more about the PANTOUM and its origins.

                                     

When daffodils begin to peer,

With heigh! The doxy over the dale,

Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year;

For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale

_____

(William Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale  4.2)

_____

THE STORY OF SPRING

by A.E. Faris

______

In Sicily, there was a place no man had ever seen

where flowers were abundant and the grass was always green;

this was the home of Demeter, who for the earth did care,

and with her lived her only child, Persephone, the fair.

____

Where flowers were abundant and the grass was always green,

this daughter loved to wander, through forest and by stream;

throughout the day, this only child, Persephone, the fair,

would stop awhile to pick those blooms and twine them in her hair.

____

This daughter loved to wander, through forest and by stream

and little thought of trouble, as if roaming in a dream;

she’d stop awhile to pick the blooms and twine them in her hair,

’til one fine day, a bud she found of scent beyond compare.

____

She little thought of trouble, as if roaming in a dream

and learned too late that all is not as sweet as it would seem;

that one fine day, the bud she found of scent beyond compare

was to her world about to bring unlimited despair.

____

She learned too late that all is not as sweet as it would seem:

the flower picked, the earth did crack and open in a seam

and from her world it dragged her to unlimited despair…

a team of champing stallions standing by to take her there.

____

No sooner than the earth did crack and open in a seam,

 the lady saw her captor, whose face was dark and mean;

the team of champing stallions standing by to take her there

were minions of the underworld, beneath his ruthless glare.

____

The lady saw her captor, whose face was dark and mean,

and knew him to be Hades, the Lord of all Unseen,

the ruler of the underworld, whose terrifying glare

made him the dreaded nightmare of mortals everywhere.

____

She knew him to be Hades, the Lord of all Unseen,

but not that he adored her with a passion most extreme;

this quintessential nightmare of mortals everywhere

meant for her to dwell with him within his secret lair.

____

Because the villain loved her with a passion so extreme,

he flew her to a region where no man had ever been;

he meant for her to dwell with him within his secret lair,

a place of pure depravity and sin beyond repair.

_____

But deep within that region where no man had ever been,

Hades had no notion that his misdeed had been seen:

his act of pure depravity and sin beyond repair

was witnessed by Apollo from his station in the air.

_____

Hades had no notion that his misdeed had been seen

through eyes as old as heaven, still exceptionally keen;

what was witnessed by Apollo from his station in the air

was told, in turn, to Demeter, who heard it with despair.

_____

Those eyes as old as heaven, still exceptionally keen,

bore witness to a heartache like none else they’d ever seen;

the news he broke to Demeter gave way to such despair

that the Firmament responded, casting darkness everywhere.

____

To see a mother suffer from a heartache so extreme

was not for good Apollo, who shuddered at the scene;

because the sky responded, casting darkness everywhere,

he knew he must take measures to ensure the world’s welfare.

____

It was not for good Apollo, who shuddered at the scene,

so he called upon young Hermes, whose mind was quick and keen;

an efficacious measure to ensure the world’s welfare

was to make a plan to face the brute on his despotic chair.

____

Apollo ordered Hermes, who mind was quick and keen,

to make his way to Hades to investigate the scene;

he bade him to entreat the brute on his despotic chair

and never to return without Persephone, the fair.

____

Hermes made the journey to investigate the scene,

flying at the speed of a solar-powered beam,

determined not to leave without Persephone, the fair

who, in her hapless absence, was lamented everywhere.

____

Flying at the speed of a solar-powered beam,

he came before cruel Hades, that iron-hearted fiend;

he told him that Persephone was pined for everywhere

and asked him to return her to the arms of those who care.

____

Standing up to Hades, that iron-hearted fiend

with sturdy guards around him for a total of thirteen…

when asked if he’d return her to the arms of those who care,

Hades merely fixed him with a penetrating stare.

____

With sturdy guards around him for a total of thirteen,

the unrepentant Hades’ short reply was not foreseen;

subjugating Hermes with his penetrating stare,

the King of Darkness only said: “I think that’s more than fair.”

_____

The unrepentant Hades’ short reply was not foreseen;

it made the other wonder what his motive might have been…

for him to only answer: “I think that’s more than fair”

was something for which Hermes was completely unprepared.

_____

Hades wouldn’t tell him what his motive might have been,

nor would he communicate his demoniac scheme;

he would merely say, for home, she needed to prepare,

and offered her a piece of fruit to furnish her way there.

____

He did not communicate his demoniac scheme

and so his dark intent remained regrettably unseen;

but of the tasty fruit he gave to furnish her way there,

six seeds she ate in all the haste of hunger hard to bear.

____

It was his odious intent, regrettably unseen,

to feed her with a penchant for the place where she had been;

what she ate in all the haste of hunger hard to bear

would always draw her back to Hades’ diabolic lair.

____

Poisoned with a penchant for the place where she had been,

The daughter made the journey back to see the earthly queen;

but she would yet return to that diabolic lair,

ever in the clutches of a rogue who could not share.

____

The daughter reunited with her earthly mother-queen,

the elder comprehended that their bliss was but a dream;

in order to find freedom from a rogue who could not share,

they’d need to act without delay; there was no time to spare!

_____

Her mother comprehending that their bliss was but a dream,

 hurried to majestic Zeus, his wisdom for to glean;

they’d need to act without delay; there was no time to spare:

there had to be a way to keep her cherished daughter there!

____

She hurried to majestic Zeus, his wisdom for to glean,

who asked of her how many seeds she thought there might have been;

the only way he knew to keep her cherished daughter there

was to conjure up a deal the devil might consider fair.

____

When asked to say how many seeds she thought there might have been,

the mother answered six (from what the girl had seen…);

and so, they’d seek a deal the devil might consider fair:

six months above in earthly bliss, six months in Hades’ lair.

____

Because the mother answered six (from what the girl had seen),

a deal was struck with Hades to appease his heart so lean:

six months above in earthly bliss, six months in his retreat,

and while she lived below the ground, the forecast would be bleak.

____

A deal was struck with Hades to appease his heart so lean;

that’s how the seasons came to pass, and since then, so it’s been;

while she dwells below the ground, it’s cloudy everywhere,

but Spring arrives when reappears Persephone, the fair!

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Story of Spring
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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Story of Spring
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Story of Spring
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Story of Spring
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Story of Spring
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Story of Spring

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