The truth of the dark months and why I dig Persephone’s kinky winter retreat

I found this POEM online. Someone had quoted it on Facebook and given very little detail about the author. All I can find is this link to a tumblr called spuffyduds. Beats me why someone who can write something this outstanding wouldn’t want to put their name ALL OVER IT.

“Persephone Lied”

The truth is, I was bored.
My mother blissing ahead of me, rosebuds rising in her footsteps,
And I skulking behind, thinking,
Oh look. She walks in beauty.

Her power could boil rivers, if she chose.
She doesn’t choose. She scatters
Heliotrope behind her.

And me, I’ve no powers. I think she’d like
A decorative daughter. A link to the humans
She feeds with her scattered wheat.
A daughter wed to a swineherd’s just the thing
To show that Demeter’s a down-to-earth
Kind of goddess.

Do you know what swineherds talk about?
Diseases of, ways to cook;
“That ‘un’s got no milk for ‘er shoats;
Him, there, he’s got boggy trotters.”

And when he leaned in, smiling,
While we sat in a bower sagged with Mother’s honeysuckle,
When he said, “Now,
My herd’s growing and I’m thinking I could feed a wife—”
That’s when I snapped, I howled, I ran.

And when a hole opened up, a beautiful black, in all the pastels of my mother’s sowing.
Let me fix the lie: Nobody grabbed, nobody pulled.
I jumped.

I thought it was a tiny earthquake,
Thought I was killing myself,
Starting a long journey to Hades.
It was a more direct trip
Than I’d imagined—
I landed in his lap.

He just looked at me, said “Well,”
And kept driving his chariot down,
Flicked his leather reins near my face.
He did not give me flowers.
He never spoke of pigs.

Didn’t speak much at all. Just took me down in darkness
And did dark things.
I liked them.

I stumbled through his grey gardens, after,
Sore and smiling.
And the gardener said, “Little girl,
Little sunlit flower,
You belong in the world above.
Trust that they’ll come for you,
But while you wait
Don’t eat the food of the dead, for it will trap you here.”
And I said give me the fucking fruit.

But when I ate I could hear her howling,
See her spreading winter on the world.
My poor mother, who missed me after all;
My poor swineherd, starving.
Huddled up for warmth with the few he hadn’t eaten.

I spat out half the seeds.

So now I suffer through the summers,
Smile at the swineherd who tells me
Which shoat is off its feed.
Smile at my mother and walk behind her.
My powers have come to me now, and in her candy-colored wake I scatter
Sundew and flytrap, nettles and belladonna.

I smile and wait for November,
For when I come back to you.
Your clever cold hands and your hard black boots.
I don’t ask what the leather is made from.
I don’t think I want to know.


The myth of Persephone always got to me. I couldn’t stand the darkness of the winter months and so I imagined her descent into the Underworld as some sort of torture that we all had to endure. Demeter’s celebration at her daughter’s return to the world in Spring was so joyous and bright, and surely more preferable to the cold and the grey of the long drawn-out days leading up to it.

Something switched in me a few years ago. Winter is soothing balm to me now. In Summer I’m buzzing on full manic power. I’m on fire, shaving away at my sleep schedule for time to do everything that is calling to me. I’m surrounded by people, projects, and work, pulling me in many directions.

By the arrival of Autumn I’m sensing the need to slow down but I can’t find the brakes. The momentum is too strong; the addiction too sweet and rewarding to quit. Come December, the frayed edges of my psyche are peeling back dangerously close to the core. Hibernation tendencies creep in. The craving for sleep, for comfort food and warmth. Digging out cozy jumpers from the back of my wardrobe and thick socks to slip into boots.

Today I’m taking the morning in bed, with trips to the kitchen to make pots of tea (thank you, my Love, for the new teapot and teas). If I could spend two weeks like this, I would, but if one morning is all I can sneak, I’ll savour it as fully as I can. I imagine Persephone snuggled up in the womb of the earth, cradling the soreness in her hips from long nights with her dark Master, Hades, and I know just how she felt: not in any hurry for Spring to arrive.