• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 05
Image by

The Goose of Persephone

I am goose and today I became art at the hands of an apprentice taxidermist. Throughout the ages I have admired apothecaries who pickle or preserve body parts with formaldehyde and glycerine. Sacred, mummified cadavers are resplendent when discovered by archaeologists.

Looking upon death perturbs my soul; beaded eyes a reminder of lost vivacity. Flesh is for the living; appreciating the tousled beauty of human hair and youthful bones. Strutting fowl, flexing feathers ripe with life, prepared for nesting or feasting rituals. Our fate as geese is to flock, vibrantly fly as a team, forming a tight plump when our air navigation is taut. After hatching we form a honking gaggle in pursuit of our mother figure, our Lorenz. Individually we’ve been wrung by the neck, cooked and dined upon, traditionally spiced and seasoned until plates are wiped clean. Napkins stained.

I didn’t expect to be immortalised upon a cherished mantelpiece as furnishing décor. But the truth is, I am worthy. I am goose and this is my story.

Memories of mythology are passed through generations. Being immortalised in flesh cannot eclipse my fame in eternal myth. My ancestors were sculpted in bronze by the God of metalwork Hephaestus, spouse of Aphrodite who loved me dearly. Every female gosling aspires to lay that golden egg. To inhabit a castle in the clouds and descend a beanstalk embraced by a boy. Epigenetic feelings of safety and well-being craft each life. Humans were our refuge and our fate. They kept us close. In John Lydgate’s debate we fought our position against the sheep and the horse. We provided delectable meats, salubrious grease and feathery quills for ink and arrows.


The Goose of Persephone

I am goose! The sacred animal of the maiden Kore, she who grew to become Persephone, wife to Hades. Bewitched by her barefooted gentleness I accompanied her in the gynaecium and garden of Nysa, until Hades swept her away. In place of the narcissus I was used as a lure as she and Herkyna held me in their arms. It was a trap. I flew into a cave and hid behind a stone. Pursued, I was found but not before Hades had carried my mistress away in his chariot.

I am goose. Loyal, devoted yet ungamely in my gait. My waddle, a cause for mirth and joy within the human family that adopted me. Fed well and chased by the next door cat, I was often invited inside by the boy who loved me most. His face was different, rounder, wider. At first his arms flapped and I thought he too would fly. His voice was raspy and his actions sometimes wild. But his touch was careful and I grew to trust and seek his company and he sought mine.

Their intentions were to preserve me for him. To help him understand the cycle of life. I wait with pride of place on the hearth, the centrepiece of the living room. The family hold their breath as he breezes home. I am goose.