Sunday, November 16, 2008

winter fruit: pomegranate

I always look forward to pomegranate season. It's my favorite winter fruit, besides persimmon, and such a strange one at that, with a lot of evocative lore. But it surprises me that there seems so little reference to its resemblance to the heart -- ventricled chambers, arils like briolettes of blood, and the calyx a little like artery stems.

It's even more surprising, in view of the native mythic-religious possibilities in the heart or blood. Life, death, regeneration, sacrifice, passion, wine, etc. All of which are manifest in the story of Persephone, as well as the cult of Dionysus, and in striking transcription (along with even the pomegranate itself!) in Christianity.






above images from: spectrum-health.org and quamut.com.
painting detail from Botticelli's Madonna of the Pomegranates.


Eleusis


Destroyer,
kyria eleison! Descend,
to the heart of December. Winter
comes. To the heart,
a hard fruit, but swollen with a thousand
drops of blood, rubies, pave-set and
glittering with the rage
of life. Descend,
to stillness and earth. To rest,
unmoved; yet moving unseen,
under the royal calyx,
swallowed in a secret of sleep, gestation:
to ascend
to agony
to love in vain spring. Exultet.





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