Most of us have lost someone dear in our lives, whether a husband, child, parent, or friend. The hurt is unbearable. We can understand Demeter’s deep, gut wrenching sorrow at the sudden, stark disappearance of her beloved daughter Persephone, taken by the dark lord of the Underworld. In her misery the world turned barren and frost laden, and she did not care. She couldn’t care. Her agony was too great for her to summon up any shred of compassion for anyone else. The earth and earth dwellers who had been under her patronage now receded from her heart. Neither did she mingle with her fellow gods, as their pastimes were shallow and trivial. Only her grief was real. And then her anger.
From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, translated by Gregory Nagy:
She would never go to fragrant Olympus,
…never send up the harvest of the earth,
until she saw with her own eyes her daughter, the one with the beautiful looks.
She begged heaven and hell to return her daughter. Begged from the deepest, most rage filled recesses of her soul. Time passed. Her pain continued. And then, in a miracle, her daughter returned.
I can imagine Demeter taken right out of her mind by the sheer overwhelming joy of the moment.
Alfred, LordTennyson put it this way:
Queen of the dead no more — my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet —
“Mother!” and I was folded in thine arms.
From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Interlinear Translation
edited & adapted from the 1914 prose translation
by Hugh G. Evelyn-White:
And the whole earth laughed for joy.
To you and yours, best wishes to relish the beauty and pleasures of spring.
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance