Of Pomegranate Seeds – a poem by Janet Krauss

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.

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