Vicky Kendall Weiss: ‘The Rocks at Eden’
My name is Vicky Kendall Weiss and I am studying English and Classical Studies at Exeter University. My poem, ‘The Rocks at Eden,’ highlights to me a far more macabre and theological interpretation of Causley’s ‘Eden Rock.’ Beginning with the word “Eden,” my mind was instantly drawn to the biblical garden of Eden as a setting to frame my interpretation of the themes of loss, memory, and joy so prevalent in the original poem. It begins with an unnamed Primordial retelling the untold 8th day of creation and the days leading up to The Fall of humanity as told in the Christian Bible. The story he tells is one of joyous normality, the unnamed first man and woman joining together in dance. I imagined, even though he’s immortal, that the primordial has grown in age yet remains infantile in the petty ways he turns humanity away, refusing to interact, and only looking to the first few pages of his story as his reminder of doctored mortality.
The tragedy in my poem compared to Causley’s is not the finite aspect of life ending but is instead the infinite monotony of life’s extension and immortality being the prime curse of an all-powerful man who refuses to move on from his prior memories and mistakes.
And on the 8th day,
I watched them dance
That morning was kind,
She shone twice as bright.
Glowing like a struck ember,
Gifted with light.
She lived in a dream,
A dream of great might
Warm with the touch of it,
Burned from the sight.
She led the dance.
He melted into her melodies
Like an unknown drum.
Flesh tumbled and turned
And turned into song.
And that was the day I knew it was good
And I knew it must die, as we all should.
The lofty primordial sat back in his chair,
Sipping ambrosia through the clouds in his hair.
Mountainous cheeks, cavernous with age,
Marked with the misery he read on his page
Rain smacked as he wept, and it flooded the earth,
Thunder broke out as he watched her in birth.
It was his fault, their pain was his own,
He watched as they killed in a place once called home.
That morning was dark,
There was no light.
The death of the lark,
Was a deafening sight.
And with every slash, he turned them away,
And with every slash, the more they would pray.
And the days move on, with more of them helpless
And the days move on, the ambrosia was boundless.
Their days don’t move on, they die in their sleep
He sits on his chair, counting his sheep
Now he’s blind, he tries not to look,
He’ll sit in his chair and read his good book.
He made them an Eden, he remembers the day
He made them a home and pushed them away.
And now he sits, alone in a cloud,
Heaven is empty, No one’s allowed.
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