Eavan Boland, The Pomegranate

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
a city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and the proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a
The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.

Copyright © 1997-2002 by The Academy of American Poets
From In a Time of Violence, published by W. W.
Norton & Company, Inc.,
1994. Copyright © 1994 by Eavan Boland

the painter


Understanding ....the inspiration, the painting

"Inverting Power Games"

from the unconscious....

Rose of Sharon


going public: Transformation


the poet and the painter: moving toward a new voice

the painter

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Ovid, "The Rape of Proserpine," Metamorphosis:

..."I saw,
Myself with my own eyes, your Proserpine.
Her looks were sad, and fear still in her eyes;
And yet a queen, and yet of that dark land
Empress, and yet with power and majesty
The consort of the sovereign lord of Hell."
The mother heard in horror, thunderstuck,
It seemed and turned to stone. Then...she soared...
Indignant before Joyce and said, "I come
To plead for my own flesh and blood, yours too...."
And Jove replied: The child is yours and mine,
Our common care and love. If we allow
Things proper names, here is no harm, no crime,
But love and passion. Such a son-in-law
If you, Ma'am, but consent, will not disgrace us...."
Then Jove, to hold the balance fair...
Portioned the rolling year in equal parts.
Now Proserpine, of two empires alike
Great diety, spends with her mother half
The year's twelve months and with her husband half.
Straightway her heart and features are transformed;
That face which even Pluto must have found
Unhappy beams with joy, as when the sun,
Long lost and hidden in the cloud snad rain,
Rides forth in triumph from the clouds again.

learning to negotiate two realms, two languages:

the rationalist and the intuitive/emotional
exploring the life force of the psychic depths, restoring the non-rational, the potential generativity of the unconscious

Images of Persephone : Feminist Readings in Western Literature.Ed. Elizabeth T. Hayes, Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 1994

James Hillman
on "avoiding psychic monotheism":

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Proserpine, 1874

the poet

metamorphosis .... or Metamorphism ?

First Movement: Change

II. Sometimes we consciously and deliberatively CHOOSE to cross the threshold:

I. From Ovid to Eiseley...Change is inevitable

Transition and Location:
On Leaving Home, In Search of a Place of Understanding

College Seminar I, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2000

Ovid. Metamorphosis (1-8 A.C.E.):

...In all creation
Nothing endures, all is in endless flux....
Nothing retains its form; new shapes from old
Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly
Contrives. In all creation, be assured,
There is no death--no death, but only change
And innovation....
...the earth and all therein, the sky
And all thereunder change and change again,
We too ourselves, who of this world are part,
Not only flesh and blood but pilgrim souls....



I've heard the word
bandied about when women talk;
butterflies, cocoons, and the like.
Having spent some time with rocks
I'd say metamorphism, not metamorphosis
is the better story.

To make a metamorphic rock
(well, there are a few paths, but here is one),
take a rock (a shale perhaps, a mudstone)
and leave it where continents collide.
Bury it. Heat it. Fold. Flatten.
Apply pressure and stresses
(compressional, tensional, deviatoric).
And the rock changes. It has to.

Too much stress too fast, it'll break
Too much heat - it melts.
But when conditions are ripe, just short of destruction,
The mud becomes mica; garnets emerge, blue-bladed kyanite:
The shale becomes schist.
No silken cocooning, no quiet emergence,
no mere cosmetic change, no, but a shift down to its very chemistry.
Atom by atom, the rock responds, its history rewritten
in the crystal lattice.

And after a few tens of millions of years
(an eon, an epoch)
our rock reemerges,
with the geological equivalent of a little wisdom and a few gray hairs.

And when you hold it in your hand,
and if you know how to read a rock,
then what you'll see is this: What it was. Where it's been. What fires it's seen.

So what I have to say is this:
if you're looking for a metaphor, and the topic is change,
forget butterflies.
Think rocks.

Andrea Friedman


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