FOR PERSEPHONE – May 19, 1980
Persephone, this slumbering earth,
And I, await your bright return;
Quickening, as on the day that gave you birth,
I watched the early sun awake, and burn.
So surely do I know you are not lost
Among the restless spirits underland,
Moaning, and with sorrow tossed,
Who seek the healing of your gentle hand.
. . .
We walked in silence through the windy grain;
Reluctantly, you faced the nearing slope –
The torch you bore, to lighten pain;
The wheat against your breast, betoken hope.
Let no one mourn your dark and kindly stay;
Another spring – and you – are on the way.
|Note from Joan Wikler: Elinor Schloss Wikler loved the ancient myths and often described herself as a "sun worshipper" or pantheist when asked her what her religion was. Her closeness to the spirit of the earth made her seem like an Earth Goddess to me. She and I (her daughter) shared an identification as Demeter and Persephone, especially after reading an early version of the myth in which Perspehone's descent into the underworld was voluntary, to help ease the suffering of the souls down there. She wrote this poem to me when I was getting ready to start my residency after medical school. Dreading the long, stressful days and sleepless nights, I confessed to her that felt like I was descending into hell. This poem was her gift of hope and encouragement to me.|