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Because CLEARLY, there's a market for this kind of thing...

October 30th, 2006 (01:37 pm)

Okay, this is approximately draft 2.5 of, um, a Greek-myth fanfic poem. Or possibly Roman, I can never remember which names go with which.

Persephone Lied

The truth is, I was bored.
My mother blissing ahead of me, rosebuds rising in her footsteps,
And I skulking behind, thinking,
Oh look. She walks in beauty.
Again.

Her power could boil rivers, if she chose.
She doesn’t choose. She scatters
Heliotrope behind her.

And me, I’ve no powers. I think she’d like
A decorative daughter. A link to the humans
She feeds with her scattered wheat.
A daughter wed to a swineherd’s just the thing
To show that Demeter’s a down-to-earth
Kind of goddess.

Do you know what swineherds talk about?
Swine.
Diseases of, ways to cook;
“That ‘un’s got no milk for ‘er shoats;
Him, there, he’s got boggy trotters.”

And when he leaned in, smiling,
While we sat in a bower sagged with Mother’s honeysuckle,
When he said, “Now,
My herd’s growing and I’m thinking I could feed a wife—”
That’s when I snapped, I howled, I ran.

And when a hole opened up, a beautiful black, in all the pastels of my mother’s sowing.
Let me fix the lie: Nobody grabbed, nobody pulled.
I jumped.

I thought it was a tiny earthquake,
Thought I was killing myself,
Starting a long journey to Hades.
It was a more direct trip
Than I’d imagined—
I landed in his lap.

He just looked at me, said “Well,”
And kept driving his chariot down,
Flicked his leather reins near my face.
He did not give me flowers.
He never spoke of pigs.

Didn’t speak much at all. Just took me down in darkness
And did dark things.
I liked them.

I stumbled through his grey gardens, after,
Sore and smiling.
And the gardener said, “Little girl,
Little sunlit flower,
You belong in the world above.
Trust that they’ll come for you,
But while you wait
Don’t eat the food of the dead, for it will trap you here.”
And I said give me the fucking fruit.

But when I ate I could hear her howling,
See her spreading winter on the world.
My poor mother, who missed me after all;
My poor swineherd, starving.
Huddled up for warmth with the few he hadn’t eaten.

I spat out half the seeds.

So now I suffer through the summers,
Smile at the swineherd who tells me
Which shoat is off its feed.
Smile at my mother and walk behind her.
My powers have come to me now, and in her candy-colored wake I scatter
Sundew and flytrap, nettles and belladonna.

I smile and wait for November,
For when I come back to you.
Your clever cold hands and your hard black boots.
I don’t ask what the leather is made from.
I don’t think I want to know.

Comments

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Posted by: disaster girl (redbrickrose)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)

Wow. That's gorgeous.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I was throwing things out today and ran across drafts 1 and 2, from about 3 years ago. It was one of those nice, "Hey! This doesn't suck!" moments.

Posted by: garnigal (garnigal)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)

That is really excellent. Very hot. I love the swineherd's lines too - great use of dialect.

I think my favourite stanza is:
"Didn't speak much at all. Just took me down in darkness
And did dark things.
I liked them."

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)

Thank you! Yeah, it was...dark. Heh.

Posted by: pete and gabe's collaborative dicks (inlovewithnight)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)

That's really good. Ooh, Persephone. Lovely.

::bookmarks::

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)

Wow, thanks! ::is somewhat boggled by people actually reading this::

Posted by: prufrock, before he got famous (likeadeuce)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
genius

This is amazing. Thanks for sharing it!

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC)

Dang, thanks!

Of all the things that I've ever posted, this was way high on the list of "geez, nobody is even gonna READ this." Shows what I know.

And hee, thanks for the icon! ::preens::

Posted by: a girl named go (inathunderstorm)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)

I don't think I could love this any more. This has long been my favorite myth, and I've always found their love story beautiful.

Have you heard the song "Demeter's Daughter?" I'm going to upload it for you RIGHT NOW.

I really love this. I seriously have shivers. *shivers*

Your clever cold hands and your hard black boots.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. *dies*

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC)

Okay, I'm gobsmacked that people are even reading this! And liking it is EXTRA nice. And giving somebody shivers---well. That makes my black little heart happy. ;-)

Don't know the song, no, bring it on!

Posted by: a girl named go (inathunderstorm)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)

Posted by: a girl named go (inathunderstorm)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 01:52 am (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)

I'm in awe. :) Greek mythology fanfic in poetry form is not something I ever expected to come across...

(Roman myth would be Proserpina and Ceres and Pluto)

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the awe! I truly didn't think anyone would go for this. Shoulda known I had a flist full of mythgeeks. :-)

And thanks for nailing down the origin! Yeah, "Pluto" just doesn't work in a sexy-ish piece. ::steps away from grotesque doggy-style joke::

Posted by: kangeiko (kangeiko)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)
research

This is beautiful. It reminds me of leonard Cohen's 'The Letter' in its unapologetic tone. Apsolutely wonderful.

Please, miss, may I have some more?

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)

Wow, thanks! I don't know that one, I'll have to check on Napster. I like what little Cohen I've heard.

Hmm, I don't think I HAVE any more Greek myth poems. But I have a love poem to Death specifically as she appears in Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" comics--does that count? ;-)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)

Thanks! And link me!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Shalanar (shalanar)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)

Wow. That is an amazing poem. *hearts*

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)

Wow, thanks! Geez, I'm seeing new names here, for the post that I thought one or two people might read, to be KIND...

Posted by: Samael (maidenform)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)

*dies*

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)

::gives you CPR:: ;-)

Posted by: Bean Rua (beanrua)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)

Absolutely wonderful...

I'm in a Greek classics class, where we're going over that myth...I want to bring it to class to share!

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)

Well, dang, thanks! Feel free. Just--credit my journal, I guess!

Posted by: a2zmom (a2zmom)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)

This is amazing, I love how you've turned the original myth on its head and made Persephone someone with her own ideas about her wants and needs.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)

Thanks muchly! I was just throwing crap out and ran across drafts 1 & 2, from around 3 years ago, so it was kind of a little present from the universe today--I'd almost forgotten it.

Posted by: Maia (green_maia)
Posted at: October 30th, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)

That's brilliant! And gorgeous. Makes me shiver. Absolutely gorgeous!!

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)

I likes to spread the shivers. ;-) Thanks!

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)

That's the coolest thing I've seen all month.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)

Well, wow. Thank you a lot.

Posted by: Slightly obsessed (resolute)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)

Nice. Reminds me of some the work done in the Fairy Tale series, edited by Terri Windling, or some of Neil Gaiman's short work -- the whole, "take a perviously un-heard-from P.O.V. and give them a voice." A genre I quite like --

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:39 am (UTC)

Okay, bringing up Neil Gaiman makes me want to genuflect or something! Thanks bunches.

Posted by: nunc lege, nunc ora (musamea)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
Avatar

Here via sionnain. And wow. Wow, wow, wow. This is one of the best pieces on this story that I've ever read. (And as a Classics/English major, I've read quite a few!) Beautiful.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:39 am (UTC)

Gosh, that's very nice! Thanks much.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)

That's quite wonderful.

JennySlash

http://home.earthlink.net/~so_anyway/

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)

Thank you! Had no idea it would be so liked, neat.

Posted by: not crazy cause i take the right pills (roguewords)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 03:31 am (UTC)
wicked elphaba utopia_icons

Love this. Very yummy.

sionnain sent me.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)

'Preciate it! :-)

Posted by: xionin (xionin)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)

this is all sorts of gorgeous. i'm stunned.

and i'll never write again. ;)

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)

1) Well, thank you, and

2) nooooooooooooo!

Posted by: Jess (willowaus)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
im tired of hiding

This is simply beautiful and how I always pictured Persephone in my mind.

Gorgeous.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC)

Thanks very much! I am kind of stunned that people are reading this--it seemed kind of obscure, even for fandom!

Posted by: timeofchange (timeofchange)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 10:37 am (UTC)

This is fabulous.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)

Thanks a bunch! I truly thought nobody would even read this...weird...

Posted by: Twelvetone Tess (trommelfeuer)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 11:41 am (UTC)

WOW.

I'm more partial to Demeter herself, though certainly wintertime-Demeter, I guess the above-characterized Persephone's my sister.

But your characterization of the relationship is amazing.

"Oh look. She walks in beauty.
Again."

"She doesn't choose."

"A daughter wed to a swineherd’s just the thing
To show that Demeter’s a down-to-earth
Kind of goddess."


Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: October 31st, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed.

Posted by: g2m (g2m)
Posted at: November 1st, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)

I used to read a lot of Greek mythology as a kid just for fun. What a refreshing take on this myth! Thoroughly enjoyed!

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: November 1st, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)

Most glad you liked, thank you! You guys get any trick or treaters up your way? (They'd probably need a St. Bernard with a keg...)

Posted by: It's Lion Turtles all the way down (lettered)
Posted at: November 1st, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)

This was quite cool! I'm a big Persephone fan (my username is based on her! It's a long story). Loved the bit about the swineherd--that was a new element I'd never considered before.

I know several people've already made recs to you in this thread, and I don't want to detract from the glory of your poem--but you must must must read, Mother Love, by Rita Dove. It's a collection of poems that take the myth, as you have done, and examines the other points of view. Some are modernized--Persephone as a girl running away from home to go out with a dangerous Goth musician--some are just as ancient. They're fucking phenomenal poems and a lot of them work on the twist you've given this: that Persephone wanted to explore her own darkness. I'm not a big poetry fan most of the time, but I loved your poem and I love this collection, and pimp it to anyone I can (in fact I'd send you my copy but I already gave it away to someone else!)

thanks for this poem. Was a very neat perspective.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: November 1st, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)

Well, thank you! And that book sounds most fascinating. ::puts on my to-read list::

Posted by: Gonzo Librarian (kagenokaji)
Posted at: November 1st, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)

Oh very nice. I'm so glad I got your lj handle off you. That was fantastic.

By the way, I thought you might like to see this if you hadn't yet.

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: November 1st, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)

Thanks very! And ooh, that looks much fun. And a Pratchett cameo!

And oh, I just realized who you ARE. Duh. Hee!

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