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Winter Wolf

October 3, 2009

The autumn leaves rustle their chill warning
To those who are most affected by the
Change of the seasons; the change from maiden
To wife; from mother to despairing crone:
Demeter and Persephone, the queens
Of the fertile earth and all its fruits.

Winter does not creep up, unnoticed; for
It is not a wolf in sheep’s skin, but a
Wolf with wolf’s eyes, ears, teeth and deadly smile.
The wolf stole away Kore as she lingered
In her mother’s warm, far-reaching shadow,
And claimed her as his own: kin of his blood.

Winter comes, and neither the Mother nor
Daughter can forget what came that first time.
The earth parted beneath Kore’s dainty feet
And the wolf, stinking of death, took her up
In his rough arms, wolf’s arms, and brought her to
The world that no-one ever leaves unchanged.

His world, named for him: that dark, gloomy place
Where only pomegranates grow, bright through
The heavy, eternal darkness of Dis.
Both Mother and Daughter remember those
Pomegranates, and the seeds of which bound
Persephone, Iron Queen, to her realm.

Demeter hides her face in a mourning
That none can shake from her tight eyes and lips.
Even her mother cannot prevent what
Will come, as it always does; the slow creep
Of frost over the earth, settling soon
As thick white snows that forbid any growth.

Persephone stains her lips red with wine
That is based upon her fruit, and she smiles
At her husband, and lets him rest his cold,
Cold head upon her breast, like a young child
Seeking warmth from someone he barely knows,
But for their face, their name and their kindness.

Demeter pounds the earth with an onslaught
Of ice shaped like knives, daggers, swords; she tries
To pierce through the thin skins humans wear
To keep away Demeter’s deadly cold.
She smiles at those who succumb, watching their
Soul flee; and she snarls at those who survive.

Then it is spring; it melts away the ice
With warm, watery sunlight that barely
Takes the chill from Demeter’s cold, cruel face.
She–Mother, Daughter, Wife, Lady and Queen–
Allows the sunlight to begin to warm
The earth; for Kore will return to her soon.

It is not Kore who returns at spring, though:
Demeter has never understood that
Kore died the instant her mother’s ice pierced
Her delicate skin; Persephone is
All that remains now, a Daughter that is
Born again each year, but remains the same.

The summer blazes: over the countries
Wildfires roam, destroying everything
That happens to stand in their path, to stop
Them from taking what is rightfully theirs;
Demeter pities the wildfires, for
She alone knows that feeling all too well.

She alone knows just how much it can tear
You apart; how it can steal the breath from
Your lungs and make you cry out for that which
You have lost to the endless mysteries
Of the world; she lost young Kore to that cruel
World, and she has never forgotten that.

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