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                 Rita Dove (1952-)

            Demeter's Prayer to Hades

First Line: This alone is what I wish for you: knowledge.

This poem is protected by copyright and cannot be displayed without permission of the copyright holder. It originally appeared in Poetry magazine and can also be found in:

  • Dove, Rita. Mother Love. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1995.
  • Kossman, Nina, ed. Gods and Mortals. Modern Poems on Classical Myths. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

    Demeter's daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, the Greek god of the underworld. As the goddess of fertility, Demeter threatened to cause eternal famine if her daughter was not returned. In a compromise Persephone spends two-thirds (or half?) of the year with her mother. The rest of the year is fall and winter.

    Rita Dove was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987.