In the Garden of Good and Evil

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We sat at the table,
Not careful with our words,
Swatting sunlit fruit flies,
Engaging in the mindless dance of daylight,
Rackets to wings,
Soaking in a broth of cackled laughter,
Reckless without walls and a roof to cap the wicked,
Watching the polite discourse run through the meal, debating feast or famine,
A potter’s temptation to squeeze wet clay as it shapes in his lustful hands.
Palming beauty can be a dark indulgence.

Silver tongues tarnish with wine and lucid speak,
Weapons unleashed, a devil’s bargain.
In the purge of civility,
You trade pain for freedom, until the realization
They are one in the same,
A bloodletting of the afflicted.
But I can only thrash about these gluttonous waters
Before I long for the perimeters
That held this table together.
Stripped down to wood and moss
And carefully placed plates
With tender food,
Made from delicate, strong fingers
And rosemary scented thumbs,
Formed below humming lips,
Silent songs working for a patient delivery.
The arrival of gratitude and grace.

I wait for the din of forks and knives to rest
Before I excuse myself,
Clearing my half eaten words,
Throwing in the silk napkin,
Threaded from the chrysalis creatures
Bouncing off the hanging tree
In the garden of good and evil.

-S. S. Hicks

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16 thoughts on “In the Garden of Good and Evil

  1. With these lines, I know there’s a battle to come:
    We sat at the table,
    Not careful with our words,
    I just love this image: “A potter’s temptation to squeeze wet clay as it shapes in his lustful hands”.
    After I finished reading this poem, I had the image of the Knights of the Round Table at Camelot doing exactly this.
    The poem left me with a feeling of regret. For all the times I have done this. Instead of enjoying the pleasure of the company of others. Unfortunately this is more typical than we’d like to think. Very perceptive here. And very wise. Another name for the poem might be “The Mirror”.

    1. Funny you should mention… We had a swarm of beetles last week. It was disgusting! I was going to write a humorous post about it, but got sidetracked with poetry. Oh well. You would have loved it, Professor. The swarm of beetles, that is…

  2. I suppose it’s not so much WHAT we’re eating as WHO we’re dining with, huh? I’ve heard it said that ’tis better to eat soup with a loved one than steak with an enemy, and it seems there’s a lot of truth to that. What an interesting photo you’ve selected here, my friend! Probably gives new meaning to “ants at the picnic”!!

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