Encounter At The Gates Of Eden

You wouldn't want to enter, sir, I think.
The garden is dying, you see,
Withering to powder,
Rotting to slime,
And would have died
Whether She had tasted
Or had left the maybe-Apple
Hanging, shining, on its tree.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Has Dutch Elm Disease
And was planted as a trap
To catch a pair of naked fools.
What was the serpent doing there, anyway?
No flaming-sworded angel drove him off,
And no newly-named mongoose
Rikki-Tikkied him into a pile of bones and scales.
That forked-tongue had an entry pass
And possibly a guest-house in this garden.
Leave it. The leaves themselves
Are drifting softly to the dust,
Covering the grass turned sere.
The sentry angel has left his sword
Stuck in that little bush there by the gate,
Setting the drying tinder afire
To misdirect later travelers,
And has drifted off into the night,
Searching for remnants of older pantheons.
He thirsts for a drink of Lethe, you see,
And a toast with old three-headed Cerberus,
That other gatekeeper.
No one bars the path now, view the weeds
If you wish, but there is little of interest
In crabgrass and decaying sins.
By the dust on your sandals,
I can see you've come by desert;
May I suggest another route
Back to the world of Man?
There is a well-trodden road
That leads out from the back-garden gate,
And it's not that long a walk to Calvary.
I've brought sandwiches for the trip,
And I certainly don't mind sharing.