Demeter’s Daughters

By Jena Woodhouse


It was their mother whom they locked away,

for her own good, they said, though she

was neither ailing nor demented. Trusting them,

she’d signed the documents reluctantly.

Now they’d rid her of that nasty dog, they said.


The dog turned out to be the faithful one,

Demeter thought with rancour, lonelier

than ever in the “home” where staff did not

respond to an infection easily treatable.


When she complained one morning

of a foggy brain, followed by three nights

of hellish pain, It’s the dementia,

the daughters said, and sagely shook their heads.


Did the hound, if he survived, sense her spirit,

leaving life? Or was he waiting for her

at the portal she would soon pass through,

having gone before her to the other side?


Sometimes, in the darkest nights,

I feel her hand in mine –



Focus of poem:

This poem is from a longer sequence that alludes to the mythology of the mother-daughter relationship as epitomised by Demeter and Persephone.