Of Pomegranate Seeds “Death is the mother of Beauty,” a poet wrote. Death is also the husband of beauty, Persephone. He forces her to eat the seeds of a pomegranate so she will always return to him sulking amidst smoldering vapors. Each time she emerges from the underground alive she wears the damp chill of death. When she lifts her arms the scent of flowers washes away the dank odor, and her mother rouses the earth to flourish again. Perhaps, in the Renaissance painting baby Jesus is urging his mother to eat a pomegranate seed from his bowl to comfort her, assure her he will be reborn years later. She turns away, face locked in the grief of knowing her son’s fate. She refuses his offer. She ignores the persistent blue of the sky. On Rosh Hashanah, if one eats of this fruit of the earth, the pomegranate, any of its 613 seeds, the number of days in a Jewish year, one will dance with Persephone among the wildflowers, and long after she has to leave, will continue in a meadow of one’s own making.
Janet Krauss, who has two books of poetry published, “Borrowed Scenery,” Yuganta Press, and “Through the Trees of Autumn,” Spartina Press, has recently retired from teaching English at Fairfield University. Her mission is to help and guide Bridgeport’s young children through her teaching creative writing, leading book clubs and reading to and engaging a kindergarten class. As a poet, she co-directs the poetry program of the Black Rock Art Guild.