I wish to highlight a thread that has been discussed a bit over at ModPo. It is rather sad, most peeps have disbanded the site, moved on — I tried, but the latest MOOC has become disenchanting, our professor is not ‘live”, the boards do not spread their narrow hands — I do not have the urgency to find something to contemplate and comment on, so I languish and go back to the old haunt.  The old feels good for even online we hesitate when it comes to change..

I had opened a thread to discuss the poem, The Snow Man, by Wallace Stevens, which is perfect for this time of year. A contributor who was quite active during ModPo, and is still keeping the boards alive with his wonderful commentary, pointed me to another poem discussion…a poem that he is currently obsessed with, Eve on the Edge by M. McCabe. The poem is not my normal cuppa, but there are elements that have me intrigued. If you are from ModPo, please visit the discussion… if not, I shall post my commentary in case you are intrigued after reading the poem via above link.

What an interesting poem. I understand why Marc felt it akin in some ways to Stevens’s The Snow Man for there is that feeling of dying into one’s self, to delve into the nothing.

A slightly different play on lines : For as long as the heart wants, everything

Leaves. Every one. But I tell you, as I watched, as i

It is interesting for I find the author playing with the word leaves, especially the way the line breaks allowing leaves to be the action of leaving or one could infer it to be leaves. Granted, to follow the punctuation, it needs to read everything leaves — but I still like to play with the idea of leaves and its meaning — perhaps merging the action of leaving with the action of leaves in this poem ‘to fall’.

The use of goldfinch is interesting — my mind continues to read the yellow of the aspens’ leaves, how they are shaped liked goldfinches, but these goldfinch become phoenix, to rise up and start again.

One final thought, perhaps question is a better word, for there is a word that catches me with each read:

*Yes, this is the way things go. I knew things/

Then, how the world worked, my legs hanging*

Then — that left me hanging for I wondered when Then was in this context. I wondered if she had changed POV in this poem, perspective from two different ages? The legs hanging conjures this idea of a child who is playing with sitting on a rock ledge — then again, the insight that follows, the very zen reading of how if the heart wants then it all leaves, is a very adult read/understanding…

Okay, I shall stop now, or it will be a circling worse than a vortex in any deep canyon…thanks Marc for directing me to this poem. ~ a


As I left this site last night, I realized while trying to find sleep that I knew not what this poem was titled. Just having read Marc’s great reply & re-reading James, for he touched upon a line that also had me thinking, I finally looked ‘up’ and saw Eve On the Edge.

now… pardon this, but I must digress for it is interesting how suddenly this poem turns into a play on a song. After reading James’s comparison to Ecclesiastes, I had to Google to brush up on my biblical scholarship (!)…imagine my surprise when I see the words from that old Byrds song, Turn Turn Turn. (I dislike the song terribly, but an old school mate Loved it, so I know the words by heart.) Who knew it came from the bible — talk about ModPo 9.3! Could it be that the poet wrote this while listening to this song… not that there is not more going on that a playing with lyrics, but there is certainly a mimicry re: seasons, birds, etc..

That said, I do go back to something Marc and I were discussing regarding the change of tense. I first read it as he did, a contemplation of ending ones life, but there seemed to be more there than that darkness. I hold fast to the poet looking at this from two POVs – though I change my tune from child to virgin. I don’t know why, it isn’t as if Eve was considered a virgin. There is such a yin-yang within that name… was she not the one whose fruit-eating destroyed paradise? It is a name heavy with symbolism, but how does it play in this poem…


By all means, comments on this (here or there) are most welcomed… ~ a

Aspen Leaves

Aspen Leaves (Photo credit: Adventures in Librarianship)


3 thoughts on “the fall of eve

  1. Love the imagery at work here and the duality (or plurality) of metaphors in the terms throughout as you indicate. Definitely turning, from one point to the next, until it encircles the idea as a whole.

    • what a brilliant comment, George! I was still working on the whole notion of the song beyond the words without seeing the obvious play with the actual content which IS turning. thank you!

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