Adam and Eve – Paradise Ignored

Here is another take on Adam and Eve …

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Wenzel Peter’s Painting: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
courtesy of the Vatican Museum

Paradise Ignored
(on viewing Wenzel Peter’s Painting ‘Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden’)

greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for a friend
John 15 v13

Images of more than two hundred animals
perfected in paint in unreal detail
carefully positioned in a still of verdant harmony
show an intricate love of the animal world
and for the very marvel of creation
in all its great variety and abundance.

For one brief moment
we are invited into this paradise
but as we enter this unreal world

there is a certain foreboding
an animal premonition prevails …

a flock of birds stir into the air
scurry above the tree of knowledge
give the danger warning
the wise owl sits atop another tree
knowing of the unknown perhaps
that knowledge is truly a dangerous thing
the cockerel at the foot of Eve
exhibits a full throttle crow –
an ominous omen
and the monkey appears to taunt
all ready in mischievous mood
proffering the reason for the disquiet.

At Adam’s right hand
dogs sit true to the letters of their name.
Below the left foot of Eve
lambs are bleating their concern, for …

Eve has left the paradise party
locked herself out to a deadly world
her skin is turning a shade pale
now separated from eternal life
alone, cold, knowing she must die
makes her desperate plea for company.

But Eve is Adam’s very own flesh and blood
his one and only friend and in a state of total need
can he not ignore! – he has no choice –
surely love and surely God
would equally agree.

Richard Scutter
from the selected poems publication ‘My Word In Your Ear’

‘Tsanga’ – Book Launch Poem

The following poem was written specifically for the Ebook launch of Tsanga in Canberra on 18 July. This book by Heather Powell describes her life in a Rhodesian recovery centre while working there in the years 1975-1979. This was during the Bush Wars when Ian Smith had declared independence and before the establishment of present-day Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe. Tsanga was located in the beautiful eastern highlands of the country. Many of those treated at Tsanga were the result of landmines planted by those opposing the minority white rule of Ian Smith. An unorthdox approach based on laughter was part of the way taken to aid recovery (see the Lauch Invite below the poem).

At Tsanga1 (1976-1979)

pain is not black or white
pain has mutuality that threads its thorns
beyond the superficiality of colour and age

the war wounded and suffering disabled
had a commonality of understanding
that defined a special communion

damaged and partial, bodies without limbs
were challenged in the enormity of physical change
to find a unique resource in tragic adversity

Imagine being twenty and living in Africa
when a ‘biscuit tin’2 explodes in your face.
You wake up in a medical centre to be
discharged with paralysis in the left leg
and a brain injury that causes stumbling.
How would you feel your future fucked!

Welcomed at Tsanga; given-up by others
it’s hard to accept your predicament
but you gradually improve
encouraged by staff and exercise
and the friendship of others
less or more afflicted.

Out walking the scenic bush-mountain track
you fall on your knees to confront the ground.
Dick Paget3 bends down and face-to-face enquires
‘what exactly are you doing’ – you reply
‘just looking for my contact lenses, Sir’
and you smile as Dick laughs.

Then you break into laughter
and both of you can’t stop laughing.
At the bar in the evening others hear
this story, they too break into laughter.
Laughter, laughter – laughter abounds.
And for the first time – a total acceptance.

Richard Scutter May 2017

Footnotes
1Tsanga Lodge was a recovery centre set up by the Rhodesian Army in 1967
located in the beautiful scenic highlands of eastern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
2Biscuit Tin – colloquial name for a roadside landmine during the Bush Wars in Rhodesia
3 … Dick Paget was the commanding officer at Tsanga

For those that may be interested in obtaining this ebook here is a link

And below is the Launch Invite …

TsangaInvite

A White Blank Wall – A poem in a public place

A White Blank Wall

Ask any latrine a white blank wall
is a blackboard waiting to happen
an unwritten open invitation
saying plenty by saying nothing
just patiently waiting in expectation –
waiting for that certain type of person
the sort of person who instinctively
wants to leave his or her mark

unlike the wet concrete scene
time is always on its side
believe me it will happen
just mark my words!
you will come in one day and –
no surprise, no surprise, I told you so

if you’re pissed-off that’s another matter!

Anonymous – of course

Context – Our U3A Poetry Group is currently in the process of working on a Spring exhibition of poetry at our local community hub. The exhibition is in association with the U3A Art Group. In the lead-up we have been displaying poems throughout the community building apart from a dedicated noticeboard – including placing poems in the toilets.

You would not believe it but one very nice framed poem was stolen from the toilet area. The above was written as my poetic response and I am happy to report that to-date it still adorns the toilet wall.

Apparently displaying poetry in public places has a name – ‘poem bombing’.

CookToiletPoem

The Silken Tent – Robert Frost

THE SILKEN TENT

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when a sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all the ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe nought to any single cord,
But strictly held by none is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one’s going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)

Here is a fine example of the English sonnet by Robert Frost that takes my fancy. Iambic Pentameter with structure abab cdcd efef for the three quatrains and then the rhyming summary couplet

The opening line although a little cumbersome is perhaps ‘as good as’ … she walks in beauty like the night (Byron)

Interesting word used ‘guys‘ a double take in today’s usage that happens to fit the theme of the sonnet.

… what a wonderful way to walk the world … being special, gentle, at ease with life, and bonded to all in a loose sort of way in love and thought connected … by countless silken ties of love and thought

… and of more importance tied by a strong spiritual sense … not dependent on any one alone but everyone giving something to hold her in place to a heavenly position (to the central cedar pole) … and this heavenly connection making her effective in coverage … making the person effective in life as well as making the tent usable … imagine a sagging tent without an upright central pole

… I really like the suggested ambience in the closing couplet … and the word capricious = fanciful, unpredictable … quite fitting … moving freely in the lightness of a summer breeze – and only by going slightly taught does she (or indeed we) become aware of that heavenly connection that binds – always subtle, always latent

Here is a link to Robert Frost on Wikipedia

Love’s Arithmetic – Catullus

Love’s Arithemetic

Let’s live and love while yet we may,
My Lesbia: all the things they say,
Those crabbed old gossips, let’s agree,
Aren’t worth a farthing – what care we?
Each night the sun goes down, each morn
Another bright new day is born,
And when we quench our puny light,
Comes endless sleep, eternal night.
So kiss me, Lesbia, I implore,
A thousand times, a hundred more,
Another thousand, with again
A hundred kisses in their train,
And even after these I will
Demand eleven hundred still,
Whereat we’d better cease to tot
And mix together all the lot,
Lest envious eyes should keep the count
And grudge my lips the full amount.

Valerius Catullus born Verona (87bc – 47bc)
Reversed by Peter Hadley
From An anthology of classical verse (Epic to Epigram)

Lesbia – was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Catullus
Lesbos – an island in the Aegean sea.

Wonderful eight syllable rhythm … let’s live and love while yet we may … and count not what others do or say … enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your day!

But beware of love’s attraction … that it does not move from addiction to affliction! … see below on details of his love-life

From Wikipedia … It was probably in Rome that Catullus fell deeply in love with the “Lesbia” of his poems, who is usually identified with Clodia Metelli, a sophisticated woman from the aristocratic house of patrician family Claudii Pulchri, sister of the infamous Publius Clodius Pulcher, and wife to proconsul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer. In his poems Catullus describes several stages of their relationship: initial euphoria, doubts, separation, and his wrenching feelings of loss. Clodia was a woman with a ravenous sexual appetite; “From the poems one can adduce no less than five lovers in addition to Catullus: Egnatius (poem 37), Gellius (poem 91), Quintius (poem 82), Rufus (poem 77), and Lesbius (poem 79).” There is also some question surrounding her husband’s mysterious death in 59 B.C., some critics believing he was domestically poisoned. Yet, a sensitive and passionate Catullus could not relinquish his flame for Clodia, regardless of her obvious indifference to his desire for a deep and permanent relationship. In his poems, Catullus wavers between devout, sweltering love and bitter, scornful insults that he directs at her blatant infidelity (as demonstrated in poems 11 and 58). His passion for her is unrelenting— yet it is unclear when exactly the couple split up for good. Catullus’s poems about the relationship display striking depth and psychological insight.