Twined Upon a Limb
The Lord cast Adam in a depth of sleep,
and fashioned Eve from his rib
He gave the two, a command to keep:
Eat not of a tree, of one alone...
The one in the middle, the garden amid:
Touch it not, not even its fruit,
Thus the Lord, He did forbid:
Disobeying at our racial root.
But a serpent crept into Eden's
and made the garden its
This cunning creature, made
a vile plan,
to them ensnare.
The woman it would beguile:
the wife belonging to
To catch her eye, the reptile
twined upon a limb.
It wound caduceus-like,
but not as a
With venom ready to strike,
it wasn't a
The serpent told Eve she wouldn't die,
fruit, forbidden to eat;
A falseness it uttered in lie;
with a forked
tongue, it spoke deceit.
When she touched the fruit and ate,
and away her holiness chased!
And then Adam led to his fate,
when she gave
it to him, to taste.
In Adam God had breathed,
in his nostrils a
But the serpent him deceived,
to bring to Adam death.
With an evil, malevolent glee,
And slid sinuously off the tree,
in a victory
ill-won that day.
When our first parents fell,
Their nature is ours as well
and we enter
the world ungraced.
The effect of its poison passes on us,
O we of
The serpent wanted humans to truss,
fiery lake, its flood.
It seeks to coil us round,
draw us down,
to the pit infernal:
And there, fore'er be bound,
unending stay eternal.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here
on the gate of hell, its portal!
O ponder this, with healthy fear,
heart of humble mortal!
Trust to enter another gate,
by living in holy grace!
The happiness there, is worthy of wait:
to see the Lord, then face to Face.
― John Riedell
Of temptation, know
our will is
only drawn to what is good,
But even to evil, portrayed as good, and as such,
is manifest as other than it should.
From the epic
poem, the Divine Comedy, by the Italian writer Dante Alighieri,
which he started writing about 1300
and finished just prior to
his death in 1321. Dante called his work Commedia (comedy)
because it ends happily. Later, others added the word Divine to it. It's divided into
three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso (Hell,
Purgatory and Paradise). Each part consists of 33 sections called
cantos, written in stanzas of three lines called terza rima.
The Roman poet Virgil leads Dante through the first two domains. In
Paradise, Virgil turns Dante over to an idealized woman named Beatrice, who
is based on a real love in his life.
* * *
* * *
A note: Near the end
of August in 2019, I was driving out of our yard when I saw something
dark on the lawn, and stopped to investigate it. I
think I wondered at first whether it was a fallen limb of some length
when I saw it stretched out on the lawn. A large oak stood
nearby. Not long before I had gathered up a sizeable
piece of deadwood lying on the ground and put it in a cart along with some
other wood from the hedge, to take and dump it.
I discovered this dark thing was a black snake, of quite sizeable length.
I estimated that it could be more than three feet long. I
took some pictures of it and at one point the creature seemed to feel
threatened as it assumed the wound up, looped shape. It slithered
from near the oak, across the hedge line and into the neighbor's yard
It was curious, as in recent days
I'd been working on this poem called Twined Upon a Limb, about the
serpent in Paradise and what happened to Adam and Eve.
My neighbor Bill had identified it as a rat snake, and there's this
information out there:
Black Rat Snake is a proficient climber. Often it goes rather high up into