07 April 2009

Persephone, Falling by Rita Dove

One narcissus among the ordinary beautiful
flowers, one unlike all the others! She pulled,
stooped to pull harder--
when, sprung out of the earth
on his glittering terrible
carriage, he claimed his due.
It is finished. No one heard her.
No one! She had strayed from the herd.

(Remember: go straight to school.
This is important, stop fooling around!
Don't answer to strangers. Stick
with your playmates. Keep your eyes down.)
This is how easily the pit
opens. This is how one foot sinks into the ground.


Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1952.  She served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995.  Among her many honors are the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the 2006 Common Wealth Award.  President Bill Clinton bestowed upon her the 1996 National Humanities Medal.[...]

Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where she has been teaching since 1989.  She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006.

Dove's work transverses a wide range of landscape, applying an unflinching eye upon historical and political events.  In her most recent collection, American Smooth [W. W. Norton, 2004], she reflects on her experiences with ballroom dancing.[...]


Add a little caffeine to my life...