Saturday, 21 March 2009

For Eve, the first mother, on Mothering Sunday

I think Dom still has the book with this story in it, the story where Rachel Remen's grandfather tells her that Eve's biting into the apple moved her - and us - from spiritual childhood, from the spiritual nursery of Eden to the spiritual adulthood of the world. That because we are what we eat, when she bit into the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the knowledge in that apple, God's knowledge, which encompasses everything from the tiniest seed to the distant nebulae, as well as the less tangible knowledge of philosophy, theology and love, became part of her cellular makeup.

When she left Eden, she carried God inside her. Sounds to me like she didn't need anyone else to do that for her - then or later.

That's my Eve. I have never believed that she committed a sin that needed to be reversed by her daughter Mary (always portrayed as meek and mild to her first mother's curious and stubborn - interesting, eh, what is considered a 'good woman'?). If Mary did anything, she continued Eve's mission, not reversed it.

And so, in honour of our first mother, I give you this poem by Marge Piercy - and hope I don't get my a** kicked by the copyright faery. Enjoy.

And...happy Mothering Sunday, mum. Hope I'm sassy, stubborn and curious enough to do you proud. xx

Apple sauce for Eve by Marge Piercy

Those old daddies cursed you and us in you,
damned for your curiosity: for your sin
was wanting knowledge. To try, to taste,
to take into the body, into the brain
and turn each thing, each sign, each factoid
round and round as new facets glint and white
fractures into colors and the image breaks
into crystal fragments that pierce the nerves
while the brain casts the chips into patterns.

Each experiment sticks a finger deep in the pie,
dares existence, blows a horn in the ear
of belief, lets the nasty and difficult brats
of real questions into the still air
of the desiccated parlor of stasis.
What we all know to be true, constant,
melts like frost landscapes on a window
in a jet of steam. How many last words
in how many dead languages would translate into,
But what happens if I, and Whoops!

We see Adam wagging his tail, good dog, good
dog, while you and the snake shimmy up the tree,
lab partners in a dance of will and hunger,
that thirst not of the flesh but of the brain.
Men always think women are wanting sex,
cock, snake, when it is the world she's after.
Then birth trauma for the first conceived kid
of the ego, I think therefore I am, I
kick the tree, who am I, why am I,
going, going to die, die, die.

You are indeed the mother of invention,
the first scientist. Your name means
life: finite, dynamic, swimming against
the current of time, tasting, testing,
eating knowledge like any other nutrient.
We are all the children of your bright hunger.
We are all products of that first experiment,
for if death was the worm in that apple,
the seeds were freedom and the flowering of choice.

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