Demeter's Daughter
Anne Lister

While picking flowers in the field
all in the springtime of the year,
I heard the sound of chariot wheels
and was afraid with nothing to fear.

And there he stood with his face like coal,
His face as dark as a night in hell,
And there he stood with his eyes like fire,
and said, "Fair Lady, I wish you well."

They say he forced me but that's not true --
Of my free will I followed him down
to his dark place beneath the hill,
to his dark palace below the ground.

And there he loved me and I loved him
though all the world there was icy dark
We never noticed the light was dim
with the bright flame inside our hearts.

They say above us the world grew cold,
the leaves and flowers began to die.
The fruit trees withered and grew old,
and dark'ning clouds covered all the sky.

My mother searched hard and tried to find
a pathway leading down from the sun,
and long she travelled with troubled mind
until she walked where we once had run.

I still remember the dreadful hour
she stood before us and bade me leave
Her dress of sunlight, her face a flower,
his face behind me so full of grief.

We made a bargain and made it sure,
we made a contract and made it sound --
that I would stay with her for half the year,
the other half come below the ground.

It was so good at first to see the sky,
to walk in sunlight and hear the lark;
but not so good to have to say goodbye
to my love down there in the dark.

Oh yes, it's true then that life is good,
and I've learned the lesson it can teach:
that you can never have all you want,
and you never want what's within reach.

The fairest flower that ever grows
grows far deep inside a bush of thorns
And happiness, then, is like the rose,
for without pain nothing good is born.

To know the daylight you must know dark,
to know the flowers you must know weeds;
you cannot meet again unless you part,
or eat a pomegranate without seeds.

Oh yes, it's true then that life is good,
and I've learned the lesson it can teach:
that you can never have all you want,
and you never want what's within reach.


The Myth
Persephone, Greek goddess of the underworld, was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was so beautiful that even Hades wanted her for himself, so he abducted her while she was picking flowers on the plain of Enna. None of the other gods noticed, save Zeus.

Demeter searched the earth, forlorn, until Helios, the all-seeing, told her about the abduction. Demeter withdrew in lonliness and anger, stopping all fertility on earth. Eventually Zeus sent Hermes to Hades to attempt to convince him to release Persephone. Hades agreed, but gave Persephone a pomengranate, thus permanently connecting her to the underworld, and forcing her to stay there for one-third of every year. While Persephone was in the underworld, Demeter refused to allow anything to grow, thus causing winter.


As sung by The Bawdy Balladeers, Demeter's Daughter is a haunting a cappella song with an amazing melody and stunning harmonies.

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