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Ian Emberson Poems
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When it was autumn in Eden by Ian Emberson
When it was autumn in Eden
and chestnuts held golden leaves
against dimming light ,
Eve touched her toes on the sodden
soil - ran fingers through harvest sheaves
- feeling all things were right :
and hip and haw turned red - the sloe to dusk
and swallows gathered in flocks with waitful wings .

Then an east wind blew - quite sudden
leaves of the beech - the ash
withered and fell ,
and beyond the branches of Eden
the grey clouds split with a gash
like a hint of hell :
and the hedgehog delved in the mould ,
whilst the swallows flew south .

It was then that Eve first sensed
warmth had gone out of the air
- abruptly she felt alone
unnerved by the strange immense
vastness - was it despair ? -
bird song became subdued and changed its tone ,
and somehow it troubled her mind
that the trees were leafless now .

At once she went and searched
for Adam , setting her sights
on a trembling star ;
moving tight lips she beseeched
God that all heaven's lights
shine from afar ;
but she had to grope on - confused
- bemused by forebodings of pain .

At last she found him there
close by their bower - in thoughtful mood
lit by dim light ;
and at that sight all her despair
melted , her mind felt imbued
with warmth , joy , comfort , delight
that he was her master still
and she his only love .

He stroked that long cool hair
which broke in waves to her hips ,
kissed tears from her eyes ;
and she , without one care ,
gave him her cheeks and her lips
freely - her breasts - her thighs
- the everything of herself gave as a gift
- the perfect present to seal their love .

And that strange venomous thing
perched on the Tree of Life
looked down on the pair ,
and , though aware of the poison in his sting
shortly to usher forth all hate - all strife
emptiness and despair ,
viewed with reluctance his predestined part :
the fruit - the guilt - and then the banishing sword .
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