is a very beautiful old holiday which reminds that while winter rolls along, the fire of the earth is pushing back up towards the surface, and soon it will be spring. Last night I got to celebrate Imbolg with a group of grand people, we honored Persephone in a brilliant circle. Here’s a poem I wrote about Persephone last year (it’s a strange poem, almost epic—kind of long), which combines a newer story with her old one. Hope it pleases (oh, and the blue part was italicized in the original poem, it was taken from a BBC report; my blog doesn’t let me italicize stuff, for some reason. And, at some point, Hades and Demeter come in for a few lines-different fonts in the original made it more clear, apologies).
down in Hades I am
divorced from the world of drugs and money.
The currency here is jars of water, shiny rocks, sea glass
a coin is a novelty
surface drugs are irrelevant, impotent.
The subconscious is the field; the conscious is bones buried underneath.
Words extrapolate themselves from root systems.
I am not my own master
but I control the world of ghosts.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), a rare and complex neurological disorder characterized by periods of excessive amounts of sleep and altered behavior, occurs primarily in adolescents.
The syndrome has been recently diagnosed in a fifteen year old British girl; she routinely sleeps for 10 to 13 days straight.
My mother said: “It’s like thinking if it was a dream or not. But it’s different with her because she actually is living
on what she may believe happened in a dream,”
(Demeter raged until the earth was _____ ?)
“Why did you eat those damned seeds?!”she asked me over & over.
She says before a sleep episode sets in, she feels disoriented and confused, is slow to respond to questions or ambient conversation.
Her mother must shake her violently to wake her, and sometimes this is not enough.
I said: What choice did I have? He came up through a cleft in the earth.
In one of the longest episodes on record one young woman slept for nearly a year.
The underworld is rich.
Shiny beetles march around the throne room.
A bottle of wine whenever I like: here there is no morning, noon or night.
A common complaint: the world seems unreal, strangely off-kilter.
Why do you still call it rape, my dear?
You’ve grown to love me, in your way.
Half the year divorced from the world of drugs and money. It’s freedom.
Freedom from trinkets, anxieties, communication with words.
Language down here is raw: one sign one signifier.
You are the first and last queen here
we’re married to a giant branching world.
But. No one says my name anymore.
Asleep for years of her adolescence, her former relationships broke down.
(From the outside, sleeping looks like incubation. Turtle eggs buried in sand. A fermenting jar. But inside, essays are written, notches carved in the walls.)
She says of her episodes, “I’m not myself. Not aware of what’s going on. I’m awake for like, two hours a day. I become vague, blank…”
Persephone, who are you? Where have you been?
Don’t you recognize your own mother?
Mother, the charioteer in the sun is just a traveler, like me.
Shortly after awaking from an episode her memory returns in flashbacks. She’ll remember things, but can’t remember if they’ve really occurred.
The decision to not make plans.
Let me alone, mother.
When awake the patient’s whole demeanor is changed, often appearing
Below the surface I grow more & more aware.
Answers arrive before questions.
In one study, researchers uncovered abnormal activity in the hypothalamus and thalamus—parts of the brain that play
a critical role in regulating sleep, eating, and sex. KLS Patients often engage in
I carry out the curses of men,
send them out on the wings of my crow.
I cast the evil eye here and there,
tap the roots to hear through the ears of trees.
Lost someone? You must go through me.
A few centuries ago, KLS might have been attributed to a witch’s curse.
I dreamt Hades put an apple under my bed.
When I woke it had grown into a tree,
its branches pinning me to the bed.
Sometimes changes were seen in the cortex, which may explain some of the cognitive impairment. When she was sick her left brain
completely shut down during the speech and language part
of the test.
In spring I’ll go back. I don’t want to.
Light and sound may be irritating, and they have tremendous difficulty focusing.
Divorced from the world of drugs & money
married to unmarked time.
Dark work for me
down in this chthonic hole.
People ask for my help
I refuse artfully; they leave thinking they have changed their minds.
The last thing she remembers is the day or couple of days before.
Mother make a new harvest, forget me.
Later take me back.
I’ll uncross Lethe, try to remember.
Hades, I give you my body and not my mouth, where old dreams pass through.
You both are calling me,
voices like faraway ships