Poetry Sunday: Autobiography of Eve by Ansel Elkins

A few days ago, I reviewed The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw. The book begins with a line from a poem called "Autobiography of Eve" by Ansel Elkins. I had not heard of the poem or the poet and, of course, I had to go and read the entire poem. I loved it and so I am sharing it with you here today.

The poet is quoted as saying that her poem is "an ode to sex, desire, rebellion, and so-called fallen women." I read it as the story of a woman seeking to control her own life and her own body. As such, it could be said to be the autobiography of all women.

Autobiography of Eve

by Ansel Elkins

Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.

Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.

I leapt
to freedom.

Comments

  1. It's a powerful statement. I read it three times. Women should frame this one!

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    1. It's a good reminder to us, I think, that Eve chose to eat that apple and take control of her life, as do we with the decisions we make.

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  2. When you mentioned that last line in your previous post, I looked it up. I love it. David is right, this poem does deserve a frame.

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  3. A very powerful message. Thank you for bringing this one to my attention!

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  4. So powerful, and it speaks to me.

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  5. What a great poem! I love that first line. :)

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    Replies
    1. The poet caught us with that line and kept us all the way to the end.

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  6. pretty Miltonian, and powerful in that conception...

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    Replies
    1. That's an apt comparison that had not occurred to me. Thank you for pointing it out.

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  7. Wow. What a poem. I'm adding this to my Google Doc of poems I like.

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    Replies
    1. It's gratifying that other people have found it as powerful as I did.

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