Pomegranate Poem Analysis

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strife and crisis, he attempts create an environment of order and control for the “infant” republic that is just entering its revolutionary era. Eavan Boland’s poem “Pomegranate,” written in 1994, takes a radically different approach to parenthood than Yeats’s “A Prayer for My Daughter.” Rather than try to create a rigid plan for her child to follow, Boland empathizes with her daughter and understands the importance of letting her choose her own path, even if it is wrong or dangerous. She starts the poem telling the “gist” of the story of Ceres and Persephone, “a daughter lost in hell/ And found and rescued there” (Boland 215). She expresses that the “best thing about the legend is/ I can enter it anywhere. And have” (Boland 215). She means that she has been both a lost daughter and a worried mother. She recalls her childhood “exile” in Britain, feeling strange and alien in the “city of fogs and strange consonants” (Boland 215). In just the next line she walks out of the fog as a mother “ready to make any bargain to keep” her daughter with her. However, just like Ceres, she knows she cannot hold onto her daughter and she lets her “pluck a pomegranate” (Boland 215). The poem itself is written in two long free-flowing stanzas that emphasize the cyclical nature the relationships between mothers and daughters. The speaker seamlessly wanders between worlds: from childhood to motherhood, Greek myth to suburbia, Britain to Ireland. The structure of the poem perfectly exemplifies how she “enters” the legend, weaving in and out as she grows up and experiences life.
In final five lines she gives her daughter the myth and in doing so, encourages her daughter to define her own legacy. She writes,
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up . She will hold the papery flushed skin in her had.
And to her lips. I will say nothing (Boland 216).
This image evokes the scene from Persephone’s myth where she eats the Pomegranate seeds that doom her to spend half the year in the underworld. Essentially Boland is letting her daughter make the same “mistakes” as Persephone because she realizes that it is not up to a mother to shield her child. Although they will always be

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