It was the year ‘Almost-Perfection’,
man had scaled dizzy heights –
conquered Mars, conquered misery.
He could smile at it all;
above all, he could look back with pride
on a lifetime’s achievement,
with only one hitch –
a problem central to his condition.
It made him weep,
made him shudder inside, where lay
his primitive self.
He could not conquer himself.
The answer presented itself as a matter of logic –
wielding the butcher’s mattock – aimed at this general
condition, he would eradicate forever
this dirty great mark, this badge of mystery,
the affliction of Adam.
To be without that serpent
would decay soul, mind, then both – not living,
perhaps not dead, only a shell which into
would last out
its final, laboured end.