Writings and Witterings



Day 23 saw napowrimo challenge us to write an ekphrastic poem — that is, they tell us, ‘a poem that responds to or is otherwise inspired by a work of art’. Probably the most famous ekphrastic poem in English is Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn, but, say napowrimo, ‘there is no lack of modern ekphrastic work’.  Examples include, Auden’s Musee de Beaux Arts and Robert Lowell’s For the Union Dead.  Napowrimo invited us to ‘… go forth and find a painting, sculpture, photograph, or even a piece of music, and use it to inform your poem for today’.

Forever fascinated by the pre-raphaelites, the painting shown below is said to be of Persephone – I asked in the original blog if anyone could remind me of the painter and the title of the picture – the  lovely Ann Fox said ‘I think your painting is My Sweet Rose (or The Soul of the Rose) by John William Waterhouse’ – thank you Ann, I am both grateful and very happy to have received a response to my question 🙂

Here is my take on this wondrous woman who is both life and death, celebrates wisdom and tranquillity, was and is much written about and is the inspiration for many paintings.


Radiant beauty,
Goddess of the dead,
Scent of the rose
Against your
Sweet head,
Duality of life and death,
Fertile maid
With horror queen’s light breath.

She meanders in meadows of
Beautiful fragrant flowers,
Roses, violets and hyacinths in bowers.
Seized, snatched,
Carried off,
Stolen by Hades
In a golden four-horsed chariot,
To Demeter’s despair.

Odysseus at the House of Death
Sees a wraith
To make one ache
For those who have been.
Persephone now the
Curse of dead souls,
Mortal men distrust her,
With six months here and six months there.

It is said:
“This is no deception sent by Queen Persephone,
This is the way of mortals when we die”

So wait!
A kindness yet,
To let
The souls return,
Springtime Goddess of Rebirth;
Mystery initiations,
Sudden depressions,
Give way

To the
A better life
A different and better fate after death.
Repeat to the beginning,
Seeds of the
Fruits of the

All shall return.
Life goes on,
She is the
Painted winecup,
Universal personification
Of life and death.
One powerful Goddess.

The dualities of an
Integration, of wife
And daughter, innocence
And wisdom, death
And rebirth
And she stole the beautiful Adonis!
Oh yes!  A psychopomp …
With pomegranate seeds

And blessings,
For wisdom,
Tranquillity. She is
A feminine glory.
Death is not
‘Tis a cycle for


Polly Robinson © 2012


19 thoughts on “​Persephone

  1. You are really doing a sterling job of catching up with your poem-writing challenge. You can really produce them just like that, one after the other? Admiration! Strange how I too was thinking of pomegranates when I saw the name Persephone, although probably persimmons are closer in sound.


    • Thank you Marina – I love the Greek myths – first found them in my parents Encyclopedia Britannicas as a child and spent hours searching through each tome for the next story.

      I always think of Grenadine when I see the word ‘pomegranates’ – I’d puzzled about what it was made from … 🙂


  2. Nice! mind if I re-blog this?… I happen to love Greek mythology so this really gets me 🙂


  3. Great use of ekphrasis here. 🙂 You have transcended what was your inspiration.


  4. Reblogged this on Festival King and commented:
    A wonderful portrayal of Persephone….


  5. You have been busy! Love it. I’ll have to come back in here to really really read. 🙂 Good work 😀


    • Gosh, I sooooo know what you mean when you say ‘to really really read’, sometimes the only way to do it when time is limited.

      We’re just back from a lovely wedding – they’re all lovely, aren’t they [rhetorical] :))


  6. I think your painting is My Sweet Rose (or The Soul of the Rose) by John William Waterhouse, Polly.


    • Thank you so much ‘Anonymous’ – I searched for it for far too long before having to give up in order to post before going to a wedding. I’m very grateful. Welcome to my blog 🙂


  7. Hi Polly, My apologies, I am ‘anonymous’ above 🙂 I really didn’t mean to be coy, just didn’t realise I hadn’t logged in!
    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your labours this weekend. Great stuff.


    • Oh! Hiya Ann! How lovely that you’re my ‘Anonymous’ – I was so pleased to have the conundrum sorted – could I find the ref? No. So thank you very much again.

      Glad you’re enjoying my catch up session, this weather’s on my side today!


  8. Gorgeous, as usual! My favorite part:

    “Radiant beauty,
    Goddess of the dead,
    Scent of the rose
    Against your
    Sweet head,”

    Never thought about her as the “Goddess of the dead” but she IS, when she’s down there!



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