August 27, 2011

Consuming Regret

Posted in Lent, Original Sin, Serpent at 10:01 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Deceived, she reached into the fragrant tree
(Not knowing “If thy hand offend thee”)
And dared to pluck the lovely, luscious fruit
(Not knowing it was rotten at the root).

At first her tongue exploded with delight
Of sweetness as she took the stolen bite.
Then, swallowing the pride of life,
She felt the ache of never-ending strife.

The fleeting splendor of her carnal bliss
Was smothered as she heard the serpent’s hiss.
She could not bear the acrid aftertaste,
For, lo, the once-good world lay now in waste!

Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

Several themes appear frequently in the work I’ve done thus far, so here is another look at the events of Genesis 3. This version is more of an internal reflection upon what Eve must have felt when she realized she had been so utterly deceived. She listened to the serpent (even though she was supposed to have dominion over him), and she began to rationalize: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Hebrews 11:35 talks about how Moses chose the difficult path of obedience to God rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season; I can just imagine that Eve’s enjoyment was very short lived. The parentheses were my attempt to show that those things we often overlook are the most important. The hand that reached into the tree in disobedience would have much better been cut off, as we read in Matthew 5:30, Matthew 18:8, and Mark 9:43. By its presence in both Jesus’ very public sermon of Matthew 5 and His private teaching to His disciples in Matthew 18, the concept of dying to our own desires demands our attention.

My notes show that I completed this poem on February 16, 2005, and then edited it again in July of 2007 before tweaking one more word when posting it tonight. No doubt it was inspired by the Lenten season, which would have begun on February 9 that year. That is the time of the liturgical year in which we reflect upon how much sin really matters because we see how much it cost the Lord to redeem us from it. The title can be taken in two ways. In consuming the fruit, Eve could be thought of as dining upon the very thing that would cost the world its peace. But in so doing, she was also consumed by regret. The consumer became the consumed.

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