Reclaiming Persephone’s Choice

Every thirst gets satisfied except
that of these fish, the mystics,
who swim a vast ocean of grace
still somehow longing for it!

                        -Rumi

1

around coral reefs, Night swims
gravid
with zebras,
angels, betas and
Persephone.

toward whom
does she swim
trailing arms of phosphorescing
fish?

a mandala,
a voice of eye radiates
moon.

whose voices
heavy with sand call
her?

2

there he lay
impressing
one simple circle
upon the fossil
memory

there he lay
precisely where he had fallen
his wax wings
cooled and curled
intact
about his mute body –

Icarus whose splash

of creative spark passed

disregarded
by all except
his sensitive father

the architect
Daedalus

who like Brueghel

had known
the world
of callous men

yet who could not (like Brueghel) paint
the son’s fall
a background event
to the year

Spring
waking up
alacritous

when farmers plough
their fields
when

melting
wings are

insignificant

who could not (like William Carlos Williams
and Auden who had known
the world made by industrial revolutionists) paint
the scene a splash quite
unnoticed –
Icarus drowning

Daedalus under Cummings’ wing erased
altogether the failed
poetic act, found
Icarus burning
from generous completely
light

an angel.

while he learned
the depths
of horror
defending
a sunbeam’s
architecture
with his life

Icarus’s despair

his humiliation congeals, recording
the world’s contempt
for vulnerability

his jaw fixes
the rosinized stare
transparent
green from nibbling
crayfish

3

she lay
almost invisible
beside him

radiant

animated

Andromeda
whose head still rests
on the very navel

the rose

of Pegasus

4

what forgotten words
could guide
these two
could direct
them up from
their watery grave

what did you learn Icarus?

look up Icarus
your eccentric experiments
your wax wings
have made you well
you no longer need them
accept your creative gift
and fly
fly with the genius
who gives you life

and what
Andromeda
did you learn

that the world
deceives
that you are
off the map?

accept
the holiness
of your heart’s
affections*                  *Echoing John Keats
return
to disarm
the certain world
with life’s germinating

mystery

5

one day

one Life

one leaftime

uncertain

two awoke

remembering

someOne died

two someOnes were born

 

Melissa Reed

About Melissa Reed

Melissa (Mei An) Reed is an International Baccalaureate Professor of English A Literature and Composition, English B, Theory of Knowledge, Literature in Performance, and Theater Arts. She has been teaching for over seven years in various countries, including Malaysia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and China. She is also a published scholar who studies with her students literature’s soul-mending powers. Portland is her home, where during holidays she reflects on the life of teaching and soul mending through poetry. Reclaiming Persephone’s Choice reflects on the tender Icarus and Andromeda, inner archetypes often drowned out from recognition in today’s media-driven, global warrior-pirate cultures and how teachers like Persephone accept to journey into the dark depths of the inner underworld to bring out the sparks of light and creative powers within their students.
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