Expulsion from the Garden of Eden recast in Taoist thought

Adam and Eve, happy as fleas in a doghouse
Glacial, this garden,
without self-determination
The mother serpent said it was good

When Eve took
the fruit from the tree with roots that go up as well as down,
like a nervous system,
like arteries from the heart;
it was a flea that jumped
from the rotting flesh of the giant

Now we swim in the many rivers of earth,
still together, inseparable

The lover yearns to unite with their empty spaces
The child yearns to eat the cyanide pips
The river yearns to spill into the sea

But we never left

There are only beginnings
for the unborn

I know that this poem doesn’t make much sense. You may think it’s absurd, or offensive even. I wrote it as a thought-experiment from the point of view of someone who has catholic roots, only to become uprooted at the age of fourteen. (I stayed seated during communion; I simply refused to join my classmates in the queue to receive the sacrament.)

Over the years, I have called myself agnostic, atheist, and now I use the wide term spiritual. Like many spiritual Westerners, my spiritualism is a pick-and-mix of Eastern influences, my main beliefs being shaped by Taoism and Zen Buddhism in particular. Almost everything I know about these ancient traditions comes from Western translations and adaptations, which have been accused of being reductive.

So, this poem is a product of that. Everything that resonates with you, and everything that you object to in this poem, is part of the experience of the poem. Thanks for trying to understand!

12 thoughts on “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden recast in Taoist thought

  1. I know a number of people who began with a Catholic upbringing who now would not call themselves Christian. But before you rule out Jesus, you may want to look at a few Catholic traditions neither Jesus nor His disciples ever endorsed. In fact, there is evidence in Scripture of the opposite. I hope you’ll prayerfully check it out and maybe consider Jesus again…


    Liked by 1 person

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