Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poem of the Week 10/9/2007: ADAMAH


My name means:
anything made from clay.

I was dust until God
breathed in my nostril
and began talking to me

“This is Pison, the river
from the Land of Onyx,
these holes are your eyes,
these are the olive groves
I planted for you,
these are almond saplings,”

and I was addicted to his breath,
his voice, his shaping hand,
and that was love.

He have me the creatures to name
and soon it was bird flying,
snake crawling, ox lowing.

With him it was simple:
he was just The Name.

Because he was lonely
(I was not, I had him)
he made Eve from my rib:
I was jealous of his breath
writhing and glittering in her…

He planted a tree
at the center of the garden
and we ate its fruit.

When he was walking
in the cool of the day
we hid from him
and he tricked us asking:
“Who told you
you were naked?”

Then we covered our sex
with fig leaves, and he clothed us
with the skins of dead animals.

He drove us away from his voice
and yet we keep hearing it
but it is our own:
hoopoe, adder, bison.

So we came to the ocean
and fathomed it, to Ararat
and chartered it, and at last
we came to dust
and recognized in it
an alphabet, a braided law,
that had caused us, and God,
and we wept:

one thread of immortality
passed through us
but it is endless
so we belong to death.

From dust we made ourselves,
the vineyards, the walled cities,
and always we expected to wake,
that our eyes be opened,
that we know good and evil
as the serpent promised—

instead, just this long sleep,
omnipotence, this narrow valley
bounded by four rivers.

D. Nurkse 2006

This poem holds an indictment the human condition in the context of modern science. It asks the question: what has happened to man with the advent of science? What are the consequences of believing that we know everything? What kind of world are we left with?

I will have to write more about this poem, as it is so provocative--but not now! Again putting things off. Modern condition?

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