Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Glutten for Punishment

Oh hey there. It's been awhile. Astonishing how much time teaching takes. Well, we are getting close to the end and we are discussing poetry right now. As part of their assignment, I have asked the kids to pick a poem and memorize it. In the spirit of fairness, I decided to pick a poem to memorize as well. If only I had decided to memorize it a little sooner before the due date (i.e. tomorrow). Yes, I am the molder of young minds. Yes, I do procrastinate.
However, if I can pull it off then they have NO excuses.
Here is the poem.
The Pomegranate by Eavon Boland

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 buddelias
but I was Ceres then and I knew
Winter was in store for every leaf
And 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
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 can warn her. There is still a chance.

The rain is cold. The road is flint colored
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.