Reptilian scales glistened like diamonds, rubies and emeralds in the purity ofEden’s Light..

Flowing through the dappled sunlight, Serpent rippled along the branches

until it clung with sharpened claws just above her head.

Jewel eyes held hers with such ageless knowledge

that she put down the lilies she’d been holding and gazed back.


“Who are you?” she asked.


“Whoever you want me to be,” Serpent answered.


“You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” she whispered, “and I’ve lived here a long time.  Why have I not seen you before?”


“Ah,” Serpent breathed, “I’ve been here.  Watching.  Wondering about you.”


“Wondering?  Did the Man name you with the others as He brought you by?”


“Oh, yes, he called me Serpent.  But I am more than that.  I can give you anything you desire.”


Reptilian scales glistened as Serpent’s body caught the sunlight.


“Desire?  What is desire?”


“Wanting.  I can give you what you want.”


“But I have everything.  Nothing is denied us here.”


“Everything?  Did He say you could have everything?”


“Well, He did warn us about this tree.  It’s in the very center of the Garden and it is very lovely, isn’t it?”


“It is very lovely.  And the fruit is ripe and luscious. Why won’t He let you have it?”


“He says if we so much as touch it, we will die.”


“Then, why are you here?”


Reptilian scales glistened as the Serpent’s tail flicked lazily in the air, knocking a leaf from the tree.


“I was curious.  I wanted to see what it looked like.  But I won’t touch it.”


“I’m touching it.  And I’m still alive.”


“You are.”


“Are you sure you understood Him?  If I am alive, surely YOU won’t die if you just touch it.  See how beautiful the leaves are!”


Reptilian scales mirrored the sun and gave backEden’s light in rainbows of iridescence.


“Here, I’ll pick some leaves for you so you won’t have to touch it.  Feel how soft they are against your skin.  See, you did not die from the touch.  Nor will you die from eating the fruit.  I know a secret I’ll share with you and with your partner over there.  Come closer, the both of you.”


Reptilian scales glistened as Serpent plucked the fruit with emerald claw.


“If you eat this fruit, your eyes will be opened and you will know all things, just like He does.  He doesn’t want that, you know.  He wants all this for Himself.  He doesn’t want you to become gods! One bite is all it takes.  One bite of this delectable fruit and you will know all the secret things of the universe!”


“It is beautiful and so fresh.  Thank you.  Here, my husband, taste the power of its flesh.


Reptilian scales glistened in the purity ofEdenand Serpent slipped aside into darkness.


“See, husband, we are not dead.  Don’t you feel refreshed and powerful?  Do you feel like a god?  Do you feel the power of knowledge?


Serpent watched the two fill their arms with fruit and turn away to feast.   The bond was broken.  Man had become his own god.  Maniacal laughter echoed through the holy place.


With fruit lifted to her lips, the woman heard and Truth flooded reality. She looked at her husband. Juice dripped from his lips in crimson rivulets, running down his nakedness.  She looked down at the stain spreading over her breasts.  Wild-eyed, she grasped the first leaves that came to hand, scrubbed at the stain, and covered herself.  Seeing her fear mirrored in the eyes of her husband, she broke off branches from the Tree and gave them to him.


Reptilian scales glistened in the purity ofEden.  For one moment Serpent would maintain his place as the most crafty and beautiful of all living creatures.  One moment to walk the earth on powerful legs.  One moment to scorn the earth beneath his feet.  One moment to feel the cool of the day on his back.


c.2011 Donna Swanson, SPLINTERS OF LIGHT


About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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28 Responses to ONE DAY IN EDEN

  1. Paul says:

    lovely prose interpretation of the passage, thanks!

  2. Catie Eliza says:

    Loved it/was devastated by it… the shine of ‘beauty’ that lures us in when sin pretends to have such richness. It’s too late to realise once it’s already ash in your mouth… Well, not too late cause everything is redeemable, but that doesn’t take away from the gut wrenching hurt borne in that moment. thanks for sharing. xx

  3. wolfsrosebud says:

    Oh yes… I can see it happening just like that.

  4. Jingle says:

    amazing writing………

    read your comment on short story slam, it is biweekly, week 2 is open until Friday, 10pm, you can feel free to submit more entry if you wish.

    welcome back to poets rally, fantastic creation here, smiles.


  5. Teri C says:

    What an interesting take on this story. So well done.

  6. Wowser. Very anointed presentation of prose with sharp purpose. This would make a great live read. Excellent, as always.

  7. Thank you, friends. As usual I am skimming for links I haven’t put on my “Great Poets” list yet. Look forward to reading your contributions.

  8. Fantastic this is!

  9. Paulami says:

    each time you used “reptilian scales” i waited in wonder. very good writing.

  10. Bodhirose says:

    A good lesson in temptation beautifully expressed.

  11. poetryroad says:

    Creative, fluid, clever and beautifully written!

  12. Wonderful retelling of the story =)

  13. yelena m. says:

    like a breath of fresh air…a very fine pice of prose. thanks for sharing.

  14. ALIVE aLwaYs says:

    a reviving tale of the forbidden fruit of Eden, its always the first time, you stop the first time, otherwise the guilt surpasses quickly, we may be even not realize if there is any guilt.

  15. nice retelling of an ancient story.

  16. You’ve done a beautiful and refreshing version of this passage! The tree photo is really awesome! Excellent!

  17. Thank you, Cindy. The tree is from Jingle Poetry in the awards section. I liked it because there were no words, just the tree.

  18. tarunima .. says:

    i enjoyed reading the story in the way you presented..i could visualize every detail that you tried to give in:) wonderful:)
    also the serpent gave some kind of an aura(deadly,mysterious) to this entire prose which adds on to its magnificence:)

  19. clariice says:

    Interactive dialogue and the pictures were playing out in my mind.
    Good work!

  20. PremI says:

    picturesque narration…

  21. Another wonderful write, Donna. You vividly describe the scene. Very well done!

    My offering for this first Gooseberry Garden picnic:

  22. Nicely woven, I like your take 🙂
    Here’s my offering:

  23. Jingle says:

    love it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  24. Katherine says:

    Lovely imagery and interpretation of how the serpent tempted Adam and Eve. A nice take on this week’s theme. Beautifully done 🙂

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