Bare willow branches drip with icy rain.
Mother warned her not to taste strange fruit
Half obsessed by summer, damp and drowsing half her year,
She wonders about her father — was it Zeus?
And what of Dionysos, the son she gave to Zeus?
She phones her mother sometimes, hearing desperation
Never Give me grandchildren — and now
Really, did she expect the father of Death
She grows old without growing up.
Mary Turzillo says:
A young woman caught in a Faustian contract with a powerful aging man: what could be a more classic tale? And yes, because she’s accepted his gift (delicious though fleeting, that taste of pomegranate), she cannot leave him. And the seeds, his seeds, bring her no joy of conception. Her mother warned her. Her mother lets her vacation summers in her country gardens. But if you think it’s simple, that Pluto/Hades is ugly and impotent, there’s another side to that. Take a look some time at the Bernini Properpina and Pluto: you can find images on the web. Better still if you are lucky enough to see that masterpiece in person, in the Galleria Borghese in Rome: the King of Hell’s curling axillary hair, the maiden’s helpless tears. Ah, still, even the tenderest of maidens grow up, and grow old.