by Diane Gage

Every day on my walk I would touch
a pomegranate tree, think of Persephone
and Demeter and my own mother,
her mournful fondness for my girlhood.
Was my sunny husband, like Persephone’s,
a dark Lord? Not in manner, perhaps, but

in secrets held and guarded. And in my choice,
however natural, Demeter’s betrayal.
How I love the smooth burgundy leather
of a pomegranate! And the long slow work
of consuming its bright blood-red seeds.
How refuse such an offer, whatever the cost?

It’s been a long time since my life
was close to my mother’s. She died,
my husband and I divorced, someone
chopped down the pomegranate tree.
For years I have walked past the bare spot,
but this soft spring morning I saw shoots

with small leaves, new signs of life.
We’ve had a winter of remarkable rains.
I thought I had moved beyond that old story
but my daily rounds brought me back
to the place where its mystery emerges
trembling, again, on the brink of breath.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have found myself drawn back to the archetype of Demeter and Persephone more often than any other in that body of iconic tales, probably because of my fascination with and reverence for nature’s cyclical patterns. Especially as they run counter to human linearities. As an example of this preoccupation: some years ago I embarked on a project inspired by Basho’s Narrow Road to the Far North, in which I walk round and round my Birdland neighborhood composing American-style 5/7/5 haiku. And of course I have pondered in poetry the viewpoints of Demeter, Persephone, and Hades.

IMAGE: “Persephone” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Diane Gage is a poet and artist in the Birdland area of San Diego, California, where she was cofounder & co-editor of Antenna Poetry & Graphics back in the day. Her poems have appeared in a various publications from New York’s Rattapallax to the Seattle and Hawai’i Reviews, most recently in a book about global warming called Facing the Change. Chapbooks include THAT Poem, Etc. (Laterthanever Press) and Mother Dreaming (Queen’s X Press). She regularly posts haiku from her Walking In Birdland series on Facebook and Twitter. Her artwork has been shown at galleries and museums in the US, Canada and Europe. Some of her projects are multimedia pieces that combine poetry and visual art, as well as interactive and performance elements. Find out more by visiting

Author portrait by Helen Redman (