The Woman


The serpent did beguile me and I ate;
Aye, tasting all the bitter nothingness
Of fruitage born upon that shadow-tree—
The stock a myth; its branches, death and sin;
The leaves a-whisper with mortality.
Four rivers ran and broadened in the sun—
Deep currents of achievement, bordered wide
With singing reeds of blessings, flower-starred
With lovely hopes that flecked the moving tide,
With ever changing grace and imagery.
From spreading branches of the eternal tree
Winged aspirations mounted—soared, a-gleam,
Into the radiance of infinity.

And all of this the woman saw shut out
By the shadow-tree. The rapture and the singing
Fell hushed in that drear subtlety of doubt;
The serpent-cadence ever luring, luring,
With fruits of show and semblances assuring;
And then—the taste—
Ashes, dust, nothingness—
After—the sword a-flame
Cleaving the dark
To guard forevermore the real, the enduring.

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Keeping the Sabbath
March 26, 1927

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