Eden

We are no first man
& first woman
in an ideal garden–

no, you & I
have fallen several times;
this last,
we fell together
with eyes open, aware
of the price of love
& willing to pay it.

We knew the risk.

I have loved men
wiser & more attuned
to my nature
than you, but none
with the singularity of purpose
with which I handed you fruit
already bitten,

& you tasted,
so we both atone

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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15 Responses to Eden

  1. another great one, another great song…and the garden of eden provides the context for this very suggestive exploration of sharing. Is there a suggestion of guilt/or regret over an earlier sharing in “fruit already bitten”? a difficult question, even made more difficult by the clever suggestion that the singularity (read – intensity/uniqueness) of this giving of self is not really merited since the speaker( Not the poet) has met with better and wiser and men more attuned….in many ways, this total giving is, at the risk of blasphemy, almost christ like!
    Eyes open? hmmm? we think they are but they are usually dimmed in such intense encounters! Atone? why the guilt?
    Beautiful poem, great song, velvety voice and richly intense and suggestive – a song which has prompted the many other comments and questions above and I am sure many others as I re-read and savour!

    • Noel–Very good questions, and all deserve more than a nod to keep you guessing.

      I think perhaps I need to move to another town, as the little place I live in was ostentatiously called Eden by the Amish–Eden it’s not, by old testament standards, but it does lead to a lot of my use of early Genesis (at least lately). A very good thing I don’t live in Leviticus, NY (oh–is there such a town–hope not, and may a poet never live there if it does!).

      As to the “already bitten,” that was used to imply a few things: (1) Experience contrasted with the innocence of both in the original garden, and perhaps (2) regret that something completely new could not be offered. More is suggested here than my morning mind without coffee can yet express…I will leave it to your linguistic genius to uncover more 😉

      Agree with your point about the open eyes–we think we know what we are doing at the moment, and why, but logic is not the ruler of intensity!

      The mutual atonement is perhaps suggestive more of two people sharing the weight of a commitment to which they are not completely suited, rather than actual guilt–perhaps a different word is needed (?) not sure. The total giving implied here is a twist on that popular maxim that love is a verb more than a feeling, and therefore the giving in itself is the important thing, whether the recipient deserves it or not (that does tiptoe on the edge of blasphemy, doesn’t it?).

      As to the speaker, I can retreat and say to you, to others, that this speaker was a mask (one I don’t use in the rest of my poetry)? What a relief to know I can protest–but, that’s not me–I was using the first person–no, that’s not US….thanks for giving me a loophole to wiggle out of!

    • 🙂 Good thing no one else is home yet, to question my sanity as I laugh at the computer screen! Only the cat thinks I’m crazy….

      • There is no town in the US named Leviticus, but there is one in Pennsylvania named the word I told you not to use without expensive consequences….

  2. Rhonda says:

    Amazing what the discourse between you and Noel does to me as a reader. I read the poem, thought I knew what you were saying (it now begs the question why my mind went there)…and then I read the exchange between the two of you and see I was wrong. Is it ok though for each of us to get out of it what we do or should we be seeing what you are?

    • Rhonda–I wish I could have asked e. e. cummings that question!

      Here’s my take: As i write, I just write what has been given to me (really more like some kind of meta-physical transcription), and as I read it later, I then see what meaning I can derive from it. For me, it’s a personal thing–the poem works if it evokes a response in the reader, and it means what it means to each individual reader….what you get out of it is as valid as what Noel and I got out of it–it is yours, and it is mine, and it is his–all subtly different. Please don’t try to see what I do–you might miss something magical that everyone else’s eye neglected.

  3. Rhonda says:

    That was a good catch with the i. YOU may believe you deserve to be i when in the same room as e.e. – but your readers, this one at least, give you a great big capital I. And thanks for the validation that it’s ok to see and feel something perhaps not intended. One of the things I love about your writing is how it speaks to Me even though the experiences and memories are yours.

  4. Beautiful exchange between Rhonda and Susan. I am loving it as the young ones would say!

  5. Susan this is magnificent ! Fondly Deborah

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