Saturday, July 16, 2011

Readings: Jorie Graham on Tipping the Primal Scales


Adam and Eve in the primal Garden has been a recurring theme of mine, especially in poetry. I was therefore most appropriately smitten with drop-dead appreciation of this passage (number 9 of 33) in Jorie Graham’s poem “Self-Portrait as the Gesture Between Them [Adam and Eve]” from the collection The End of Beauty.

The passage describes Eve in the aftermath of having plucked the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge:


But a secret grows, a secret wants to be given away.
For a long time it swells and stains its bearer with beauty.
It is what we see swelling forth making the shape we know a thing by.
The thing inside, the critique of the given.

It is the final line that got to me: it seems to say that to be is to exist in opposition to. Simple being, then, is the Original Sin. Mea freakin’ culpa!