NaPoReMo – June 15

June 15 – Heaven

We’re back in the land that we started in, the pastoral/gardener’s land, a land I feel more comfortable in, don’t know why. This poem, “Heaven”, plays off the various ideas of paradise/Eden, off gardens and serpents.

The setting is simple. N. has been clearing the land beyond his own to make some more room for vegetables. In the process, he’s attacked by a snake, a copperhead:

Before me,
……………….coiled in weeds,
…………………………………………….a copperhead
jabbed at
……………my boots, but I could barely feel it.

And then he creates the juxtaposition that’s at the heart of the poem:

the copperhead’s paradise,
……………………………………….which I had cleared,
hoed into furrows, planted.

Gardening, says the poet, is opposed to wilderness. Gardening is extra (outside of) heaven. Or, more specifically, outside of, inimical to, Eden.

But this is an Eden with a serpent in it. And the serpent proves devastatingly simple to get rid of:

and with the hoe, I hooked
……………………………………..the angry snake
and flicked it,
…………………..writhing, across the ditch
into my neighbor’s untouched bramble

And that place is a place of refuge for all the wildlife, all the creatures who “had also fled” from N.’s “advancing paradise”.

We’re left with a very ambiguous account of “Paradise”/heaven, to say the least.

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