Saturday, April 30, 2011

Demeter and Persephone Celebrate Spring in the British Museum

Why did I think they would be sedate,
cool Parian goddesses reigning over
the still white halls of high culture? 
They are Greeks, after all,
these boisterous, blowzy, bumptious women.
Two centuries of British damp have not extinguished
their Mediterranean fire.

This one is Demeter,
broad hips firmly planted, 
strong peasant thighs indecorously
splayed. Beside her, first-born and beloved,
Persephone-- no shy bride now, 
but queen in her own right,
at ease, expansive, 
summoning the harrassed Hebe
with an upflung arm.

Soul-sisters, comrades,
carved from a single block of marble,
we see them forever frozen
in that first drunken and ecstatic instant
when the only season that follows spring is summer--
when winter and death are things that happen 
in another country.

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