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The Return of Persephone

The Return of Persephone - Alec Derwent Hope

 Gliding through the still air, he made no sound; 
Wing-shod and deft, dropped almost at her feet, 
And searched the ghostly regiments and found 
The living eyes, the tremor of breath, the beat 
Of blood in all that bodiless underground.

She left her majesty; she loosed the zone 
Of darkness and put by the rod of dread. 
Standing, she turned her back upon the throne 
Where, well she knew, the Ruler of the Dead, 
Lord of her body and being, sat like stone;

Stared with his ravenous eyes to see her shake 
The midnight drifting from her loosened hair, 
The girl once more in all her actions wake, 
The blush of colour in her cheeks appear 
Lost with her flowers that day beside the lake.

The summer flowers scattering, the shout, 
The black manes plunging down to the black pit -- 
Memory or dream? She stood awhile in doubt, 
Then touched the Traveller God's brown arm and met 
His cool, bright glance and heard his words ring out:

"Queen of the Dead and Mistress of the Year!" 
-- His voice was the ripe ripple of the corn; 
The touch of dew, the rush of morning air -- 
"Remember now the world where you were born; 
The month of your return at last is here."

And still she did not speak, but turned again 
Looking for answer, for anger, for command: 
The eyes of Dis were shut upon their pain; 
Calm as his marble brow, the marble hand 
Slept on his knee. Insuperable disdain

Foreknowing all bounds of passion, of power, of art, 
Mastered but could not mask his deep despair. 
Even as she turned with Hermes to depart, 
Looking her last on her grim ravisher 
For the first time she loved him from her heart.