Calling on Persephone, by Penn Kemp
Blessed be the lost ones, those who
left, in our opinion, too soon, whose
time, they say, had come. Blessed
be those whose lives have stopped
in their current form, the bodies we
know and miss. For it’s we who are
lacking, not they. Either they don’t
know any more or their essence has
dissolved to some fuller| plenitude
we too will come upon in our time.
Only the Goddess knows for sure
if we listen, if we reach out to Her.
Calling on Persephone, as seasons
darken, as night falls into autumn:
Take care of those we have lost.
As we age, the living dead increase,
surround us with presence, with gifts
of their kind, on offer if we realize
they are ongoing, just out of earshot,
beyond tangential vision. Out there,
behind you to one side, they linger
friendly—don’t worry— and ready
to offer advice, offer warning, offer
remarks that reflect a wider gnosis:
Archetypes of what they could have
become, given time or opportunity.
My friends, our dead are listening.
May be as memories fleshed real or
may be as hallucinatory flashes from
some other realm: does it matter?
Now that they are really no longer
matter but transcorporeal illusion,
their words, their nudges and sighs,
they still comfort us, familiar whiff,
where the senses condense off-stage
then expand beyond the peripheral.
May we bring their attributes to life
within us. For Persephone’s love
of flower, to surround Her in kind.
She will return; She always does, to
turn the wheel, to begin once more,
speaking the words of consolation.
May we live that gentle beauty for
her, ongoing. May She who loves
blossoms bloom again in our eyes
as we admire a purple pride of fall
garden. May Her essence enter us.
May we become what we might.
May She remember and remind us,
Mnemosyne, Goddess of memory,
inventor of the language we need
now more than ever. Speak to us.
Tell us the news in the old way we
once knew. Keep in touch, please.
Recent books are poetry, Barbaric Cultural Practice and two anthologies edited, Women and Multimedia and Performing Women. Penn has published thirty books of poetry, prose and drama, had seven plays and ten CDs produced as well as several award-winning videopoems.
See https://canpoetry.library.utoronto.ca/kemp/index.htm. Follow her on Twitter (pennkemp) or Facebook. Updates: https:/pennkemp.wordpress.com/ and http://pennkemp.weebly.com.