Crumpled, prostrated by loss
amid fallow fields hardened with ice
I lay in a cold stone shell
Until she came riding upon Ebony wings
May I say that
as she cocked her head and cawed joyfully
Danced cheekily, laughing with me
I felt a life force
Felt the void filling, the world greening
The original story of Demeter and Persephone centres on Demeter’s loss of her daughter Persephone to Hades, the King of the Underworld. Demeter in her abject maternal grief and anger plunges the world into everlasting winter until her daughter is returned to her for part of the calendar year by Hades after pressure from other Gods.
When Persephone returns from the place of the dead it seems that she comes to rescue her mother.
In this case the writer is rescued from the abject nullity of grief by her mother’s fleeting return. Her mother’s appearance, in the shape of a raven, is, given their shared love for these creatures in the last part of her life, a clear sign.
The writer is gently reminded by the exuberant bird to pull herself together, to come out of hiding, to stop withholding from self and do what she loves.
The loss of a uniquely beloved figure has the power to consign us to an emotional wilderness where creativity cannot flourish.
Worse, memory can make us mad. We cannot escape the dead’s monumental significance for us once they are gone. Death has a way of showing just how much a person mattered. It also forces us to see how we kept so much to ourselves, how we refused to share some things with them. Now that they are gone all seems exposed. It feels like they are now privy to all our thoughts, seem to know everything about us, everything we kept from them.
Seeing them in another form someone cleans the slate and enables new beginnings, a chance to make amends.