Adamic Isolation

The dark still nurses its secret.
On the green hill, under the thorn trees[…]


Ineradicable hours convene in a circle of mistrust
on which we cast like crippled shadows our
silent ferocity, slighting with crookèd hands cruel temporality,
mercilessly, impatiently, subjugating centuries as if they were
our enemies, in the static Adamic isolation of
a prophet too acquainted with my Self, together
in the vastness of this Edenic emptiness we
pass the time by testing god, refusing to
reply or acquiesce to his request that I
relent to his fatalism and let in another’s
tongue to speak rancid doom on his behalf,
a confluence of languages meeting like bardic rivers
threading questions without answers in the trickling of
my cavernous mouth, tickling the throat with promises
of understanding still-hidden knowledge if only, on their
way down into my Leviathan gut, I would
lap up some of their messages and, collecting
their portents like another civilization’s orphaned children, nurse
them to cognition in my museum head, giving
over to expression what that scoundrel creator of
this, my being and my predicament, is himself
too inadequate to have said: that even misery
meets content when its path is so circuitous
as this, I pace and parse in circles
’round an existential pool, a puddle, of tears
laced like an obscene doily with the arsenic
pearls and sulphurous bubbles of my lust’s self-assured
face, a Narcissus reflection he wants me to
despise, but I want to taste, making of
this place a variety of home much unlike
the simulacrum of some so-called heaven my omniscient


tormentor must have known I would forsake, for
loneliness takes from a man its crudest toll,
not in the form of madness, but another
sort of toil for which one burns, I
am guilty of rubbing my own lamp whenever
I wish for more midnight oil to lighten
the murky burden of my load and illumine
the filthiest corners of my mind in which
I hide the fruit of my thoughts’ most
pornographic work, words I ought not honour with
so much as a passing remark but what
I now pass out, and pass out from,
after so many incalculable eternities spent alone foraging
my own forest for the courage to protest
the purpose of this imprisonment in so lush
a temple as this paradise of my own
desires which feels more like a wilderness where
no true beauty can even ever flower unless
I compromise the integrity of my will’s freedom,
resist yielding to temptation, and worship him who
so foolishly gave me this power to choose
to refuse his overbearing mission and use, instead,
the gift of this talent to amuse my
Self and whomever else might read what heresies
I commit to paper, ill-equipped to serve but
prepared to blaspheme against that taskmaster who blessed
me with nerve enough to challenge him to
a battle of wits it has been taking
this long for either of us to win,
even death eventually ends a game of chess,
but god curses with immortality those who move first.

1Sylvia Plath, “[Poem] 140. Heavy Women”, [Stanza 2, Lines 11–12], of “Poems 1956–1963: 1961” in The Collected Poems: Edited by Ted Hughes, published at New York by Harper Perennial Modern Classics in 2008; page 158.