Creation Revisited

I just revised this old poem from "Poems from Providence," and wanted to share its slightly more coherent new incarnation. This is based on the Bishop Ussher's declaration that he could name the exact day of Creation: October 23, 4004 BC. Counting forward, I made an intuitive leap about what God might have been up to eight days later. I also seem to have anticipated The Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster, a wonderful religious hoax now all over the Internet.


According to Ussher,
the Bishop chronologer,
the act of Creation commenced
no later than Four Thousand
and Four
Before Christ  — 
thus spake the annals
of the knews and begats
traced back to Genesis.
Those Hebrew midwives
remembered everything!

According to Lightfoot,
an even more accurate Anglican,
God started the commotion
on Sunday the 23rd
October, 4004 B.C.,
fossils and Darwin
to the very morning,
to the very hour
of God’s day shift
a workmanlike 9 AM.

Now just imagine
the confusion of Adam,
wandering through jungle,
surveying the plains,
leaping to hilltops,
alone on the Eighth Day,

his God mysteriously absent
after the sudden, tiring burst
of creation: Man, the afterthought.
He finds himself alone,
lord and progenitor,
mouthing the names
of leafed and feathered things,
saplings and hatchlings,
chrysalis and cub and lamb  — 
big-headed and knock-kneed
lnone knowing their names,
their natures,
ignorant of who should eat whom,
oblivious to sex.

Adam revels in the chaos,
in his sole possession of
the magic power of naming.

But now the horizon rages
with whirlwind, flashes
with fire-tongues, shakes
with terrible thundering.
A heaven-arching demon
splits the zenith, its eye

reptilian, its formless
cloud-bag hung with tentacles,
an airborne jellyfish.
Its vacuum maw extinguishes
unwary birds, uprooting
trees, reaching for Adam.
Its suckers engulf him,
lift him to cloud-top.

And Adam screams, eyes shut
at thought of too many eyes
and countless tentacles. No way
to make a name for this one!
He weeps at the idea
of his own annihilation.

God laughs, resuming his form,
the gentle greybeard Father;
puts Adam on mountain peak,
roaring with merriment
at the first man’s terror,
leaves him mystified
to clamber back to the garden,
asking Why?
against the unanswerable.

First day of his life,
he is seized by a monster,
mocked by his Creator.
Last day of October.
Halloween, 4004 B.C.
Trick or Treat.


Popular Posts