Two of the most inspiring parts of life to me are seeing new places and learning new things. So it’s no surprise that I’ve long been fascinated with the story of Eve, the woman who lived in Paradise and gave it up to see and experience things she could never have imagined, and learn things that would change her forever.
The traditional religious line has been to condemn Eve for her fateful choice and blame her for the evils of our fallen world. But as Mormons, we think differently. As Orson F. Whitney described it, the Fall was a fall forward as well as a fall downward. It was a difficult choice, but a good one, and to Eve we owe the gift of our own ability to discern and choose between good and evil.
Imagine her in Paradise, surrounded by every beautiful and needful thing, happy and contented in her perfect life. And yet wanting more. I think I’ve felt a similar sensation walking into the streets of a new city in a foreign land, or when the wind changes in autumn, or standing on the rim of the endless ocean–the feeling that there is something more, and the urge to know it, to experience it, to become it.
In this poem, I tried to capture that moment of decision, and the sudden thrill of stepping into the unknown with only her inner voice to tell her it was the right direction.
He saw her rise in solemn splendor,
Flesh of his flesh, yet fashioned new.
Taking her hand in breathless wonder,
Turning again, he felt it true:
“Mother of all,” he named her, “mother,”
Though she, like he, was but a child
Walking the garden with the Father,
Innocent yet, and unbeguiled.
Did she but feel a call within her
As swift deceit slid slyly by,
Watching him speak and strive to win her,
Sensing the truth behind the lie?
Seeing the tree of light and learning
Offering forth a brighter way,
Did she feel then a hope and yearning
Bidding her go and not to stay?
Touching the fruit, and trembling, tasting,
Feeling her heart beat fresh and free,
Standing a moment, struck, then hasting,
Flying to bring him to the tree,
Till they stood face to face like strangers,
Flung from a fabled, fruitful land
Into the world with all its dangers,
Into forever, hand in hand.