East of Eden

All but cursed, the men of dust,
From garden’d bliss dejected thrust.
Cast down to blood and tangling thorn,
Flat-faced in mud, bereft, forlorn.

Unmoved as ages droned along,
Resigned to sighing pity’s song.
To mouth their sadness with each breath,
In love with self and sin and death.

Then glancing back, a glimmering sight,
Through gnarling weeds, a shaft of light.
The tree untouched, of matchless type,
Engorged with life, effulgent, ripe.

It lay beyond the thorny wall,
A tantalizing siren’s call.
All wrong reversed, all tears made good,
All hunger filled with holy food.

New drive possessed the men of dust,
They set to work with primal thrust.
To have the fruit at any cost,
If failing this then all is lost.

And so they pressed against the wall
Of thorn and blade and jagged sprawl.
Their eyes aglow with mad intent,
Their bodies pierced and torn and rent.

Their flesh sliced through by razor wire,
Could not abate their one desire.
No hurt could halt their desperate zeal.
“Once through, the tree alone will heal!”

Their bodies strewn along the route,
Their hands outstretched to reach the fruit.
Yet none would cross this death-divide,
Their hope lay on the thorny side.

Behind them in the other way,
Another tree for sinners lay.
It stood apart and unacquired,
Gnarled and grim and undesired.

It did not catch the eye of men,
Who sought a ripeness there and then.
Yet this one pledged a golden yield,
To all who ceased and turned and kneeled.

For hanging lone across its form,
The Lord of Life enthroned in scorn,
Was off’ring all a bloodied balm,
With up-raised voice and out-stretched arm.

Thus from the midst of cursèd death,
Is raised His call with rasping breath.
“Come every man, leave off your quest
Find life within my piercèd breast.”

“He lies!” they shriek through raging tears,
They scoff and mock with angry jeers.
“What life could this cadaver give?
What guarantee that we shall live?”

“Just this” He says with pity’s call,
“I’ve come direct from o’er the wall.
All bliss that moves your frenzied glee,
Such fountains first begin in Me.”

At once they splutter daft disdain,
“No wounded Man or tree of pain,
Will be our well or way of life.
We’re free! You pledge us only strife!”

“Dear friends!” He pleas, “regard your plight,“
Your freedom bonds you, blinds your sight.
Your wounds for self, for self are loss,
Come lose them in my wounded cross.

“Your life is death, My death is gain,
Now trust the word of Paschal slain.
Come hide in Me through darkest night,
Soon heaven’s dawn shines fresh delight.”

Just so His promise stands above
All men, inquiring which they love:
To seek the fruit and Him defy,
Or heed Life’s call to “Come and die!”

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