Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Poem - 'Demeter Watches Persephone Grow Up' by Catherine Bateson

Listening to Susan Hawthorne read from Cow on Saturday at The Word Tree, reminded me of some poems in my first published collection, Pomegranates from the Underworld. Susan has two poems in Cow which explore the Demeter/Persephone myth, a myth that I used in a poetry sequence for Pomegranates. Here is one of the first poems from that sequence:

Demeter Watches Persephone Grow Up

Look at her – always curled up with a book,
it’s not natural. Off in a corner dreaming of Byron and Brando,
those dark, brooding heroes.
One turns up on the doorstep and it’s kismet.
She’ll follow him to the ends etc.
I’ll tell you what poetry and novels lead to – divorce.
Nothing’s surer.
I try: I tell her it isn’t like that.
It’s hard work, marriage, like two oxen
pulling the load together. Everyday decisions –
what do you want for dinner? which school?
did you see today’s paper? You don’t marry the hero.
Mills and Boon got it wrong.

She’ll fall for the one with a criminal record
and the fastest Harley. I know my girl.
She’ll wear suffering
like it’s a new art form.

You can’t protect them – even if you very bones cry out
in despair,
in love.

And that’s the worst knowledge;
that they make their way into the world
and you’re left behind
a bystander,
never feeling

Catherine Bateson, Pomegranates from the Underworld, Pariah Press, 1990.

Click here for more information on Susan Hawthorne's collection Cow.
You can join The Word Tree group on Facebook to keep informed with readings. I would link, but I don't know how!

I'm currently reading:
Melissa Green, The Squanicook Eclogues, The Pen and Anvil Press, Boston, 2010. Beautiful, measured poetry that displays a lush but disciplined formality.
David Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading. Why Books Matters in a Distracted Time, Sasquatch Books, 2010. While Green's collection is nurturing my need for the lyrical, Ulin's book is a timely read for someone battling, as we all are, an increasingly time-poor existence and wondering where it all went - this time, I used to have? Definitely recommended for all of us who are questioning why we don't read as much as we used to. I'm going to write a more extended blog about this in the near future.

1 comment:

Kathleen Jones said...

Lovely poem Catherine - I'm very interested in re-writing myths with some kind of modern slant. I've put yours up on my blog for this week - hope it's ok!