December 20, 2011
Eavan Boland- The Pomegranate

The Pomegranate

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 buddleias. 
But I was Ceres then and I knew 
winter was in store for every leaf 
on 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 and 
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 could warn her.There is still a chance. 
The rain is cold.The road is flint-coloured. 
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.

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