Pleased it returned with answering looks
Of sympathy and love; there had I fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, 463-465
I yielded, and from that time see
How beauty is excelled by manly grace
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, 488-490
I watched as Eve woke the first time,
Amid a bed of flowers in Eden,
And saw her wander to the stream
Where she gazed upon the figure there
And wondered at how fair her God had formed her.
I saw her smile and seek to caress
The beauty that lay within the water
But with her touch that beauty faded
And returned with the reforming of the water.
I heard as Eve was told by a voice
To go find Adam from whence she came,
And saw her leave reluctantly
The place where she turned her gaze
To steal a glance of female beauty.
I saw her gasp when she saw man,
Formed fair as all of Eden, yet no more.
And with that gasp she turned and fled
To delight in the female beauty in the water.
I wept as Eve was stayed in flight
For preferring the grace she’d seen before,
And told that man was perfect,
Exactly what was desired,
And to him she would bear many sons and daughters.
She was taught to accept that aspect male
Was superior to womanly form
But I sighed to hear when Eve was along
And sung with love of that first beauty in the water.
If you disliked the LGBT themes of the last poem, you must have hated this one. It takes an episode from Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which Eve wakes after being created, and finds her reflection beautiful, and rather transforms it. In Milton, she is shown Adam and, after being scared by him, suddenly becomes devoted to him, accepting the superiority of men. To a modern reader, this seems odd. To me, it sounded rather like the language of those who insist that lesbians need to be ‘taught’ how to love men. So I wrote this – perhaps a little blasphemous, but I can live with that. It’s not The Love that Dares to Speak Its Name, at least. Though the poem that line comes from is pretty good: Two Loves. Read both – both have cultural significance, and are good poems in their own right.
All the best,
The Hapless Neo-Romantic