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Poetry: Mythology



This was Eden, once, in the eyes
of the Unenlightened.  It looked different, seen
without the mediation of judgement, or
discerning taste.      Then, these weeds were
made lush by pleasure in their variety, the vines
made miracle by their novelty, their fruit.
The trees were shade, the waters, refreshment,
both small, but clean, unused: known
directly, and without prejudice.   What snake
need tempt her but time?  She was
beautiful, and time was her enemy: it required
only that one vine be greener, one spring
more pure, and, in time, it would be
chosen.        It required only that one tree
bear more sweetly, and, in time,
its fruit would be preferred.

This, she would say, is good.  This
is not good.

No serpent is needed, and no
particular fruit, to teach discrimination: only
time, and a memory for sensation.

it is only weeds, shrivelled vines, scrawny trees
which hardly bear:        a haven for insects, and
snakes.         No angel need bar the way but
choice:  elsewhere are grapes, thick and
tempting.       No guardian, except the snake,
flat-eyed and sated, for whom
nothing is new.
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