[Milton-L] Take two

Judith Herz jherz at alcor.concordia.ca
Wed Dec 17 09:40:59 EST 2008

I always end the term reading Hope's poem to the class, along with Katha Pollitt's 2002, "The Expulsion."

Adam was happy--now he had someone to blame
for everything--shipwrecks, Troy,
the gray face in the mirror.

Eve was happy: now he would always need her.
She walked on boldly, swaying her beautiful hips.

The serpent admired his emerald coat,
the Angel burst into flames
(he'd never approved of them, and he was right).

Even God was secretly pleased: Let
History Begin!

The dog had no regrets, trotting by Adam's side
self-importantly, glad to be rid

of the lion, the toad, the basilisk, the white-footed mouse,
who were alse happy and forgot their names immediately.

Only the Tree of Knowledge stood forlorn,
its small hard bitter crab apples

glinting high up, in a twilight of black leaves:
how pleasant it had been, how unexpected

to have been, however briefly,
the center of attention

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: John Rumrich 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:43 PM
  Subject: [Milton-L] Take two

  A friend in New Zealand sent this along, which I hadn't seen before.  It's an alternatively instructive pleasure.

    Paradise Saved

  (another version of the Fall)

  Adam, indignant, would not eat with Eve, 
  They say, and she was driven from his side. 
  Watching the gates close on her tears, his pride 
  Upheld him, though he could not help but grieve, 
  And climbed the wall, because his loneliness 
  Pined for her lonely figure in the dust: 
  Lo, there were two! God who is more than just 
  Sent her a helpmeet in that wilderness.

  Day after day he watched them in the waste 
  Grow old breaking the harsh unfriendly ground, 
  Bearing their children, till at last they died. 
  While Adam, whose fellow God had not replaced, 
  Lived on immortal, young, with virtue crowned, 
  Sterile and impotent and justified.

                    A. D. Hope  (1907-2000)


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