Paradise Created

Serafina Piasentin

by Serafina Piasentin

Tie little bells
to each curl in her hair, and
Ring Him.
Fill Him with a symphony —
the multitude of lilting chimes
when we altar served at church
or the Hallgrimskirkja’s hourly toll
sung from a carillon of green,
from the mouths of the Holy Trinity —
Hallgrímur, Guðríður, and Steinunn,
different voices intone the same song —
1 + 1 + 1 = 1
God math — God music — God made
darkness around the mind, yet it is filled
with light — a paradise within
even the blind can see.

Ring Him.
Fill Him with this wish —
a euro tossed in the Trevi settles
among the currency of paradise —
apple core wasted in turquoise waters
casually tossed over the shoulder
of the man with one less rib.
A whisper for knowledge
loosens the cage around his heart —
in a gust, passions come loose
and shove him out of Eden,
a beggar with no coin,
hands up-locked, held to the starry sky,
waiting to dance
to look upon the spirits —
but fingers wound too tight,
strings tuned too tight —
secure and rigid — paralyzed
without paradise. On the outside
looking in. Look in!
The fountain’s reflection
shows Him and Him and Him
and him. Bells clanging — hymn
and hymn and hymn and hymn.
Gold clinking — is it loud enough?
Will He hear? This blind prayer
cast out in the darkness, only
to be caught, reeled in
on the serpent’s forked tongue —
temptation stops the hand
from moving, the body
from dancing, the soul
from growing —
the church is a hollow apple core,
seedless, censored —
the root of all evil
cannot be wished away,
erased, or spat out —
you are what you eat.

Ring him.
Fill him with stories —
the orchestra of posey
round and round until
we all fall down
and everything is rosy —
Felix culpa!
there is work to be done —
clean the universe:
dust the stars, tidy the trees,
create a personal paradise —
the melody of breeze,
the strain of light
to fill the world
to let us see
the bells
tied: released
when rung.
Paradise within us calls
to greet temptation at the door,
gaze into slit-snake eyes
— realize he is the one going blind —
ring the bell tied to her hair —
a messenger of sin, beware!
he tries to sound like God
the tyrant lording the sky
who has strung each star
on His fingers, a puppet that shines
only on His command, but he,
angel of light, offers free light,
free hands, free bells that ring
whenever they want — oh! —
create a cacophony of choice,
a grating sound — slam the door
and return to your couch,
seasick poet, shake away the sea legs,
stumble, fumble your pen no more —
fingers like puppets at your command —
you, the author, museless, motionless
do not recognize paradise
staring you in the face —
you, who hunger for words
cannot find them in Babel —
you, who thirst for salvation
refuse to remove rose-coloured lenses —
they censor the sin, and virtue stills
unless it meets the snake,
eats the apple,
and plummets
like Icarus —
he tried to fly to God
with untempered wings.
Drown, drown, in this sea of sin,
poor Lycidas aboard perfidious bark
bells that lie, bells that cry
caged in his watery tomb
with only the wish
to fly.

Walk on water
without grief, the mirthful man
sinks, ready to meet his maker,
but uneven steps do not hold
on black bile waves —
you cannot look back
to see if you have an audience —
Orpheus — better off blind,
too quiet, yet his sound
reached through Heaven and Hell
a raft of words floating
on this bumpy ocean,
crests sinful waves —
fixed sentences of a sad soul —
melancholy learned to swim
while mirth splashed around
in vain. The bells still ring,
yet no one hears
the race of mourners
and their felled tears —
applause, applause!
Orpheus’ severed hands clap,
a repentance to God
for taking the bait,
for sacrificing his gift
for lack of faith —
an appeal, a prayer,
an audience himself,
watches as poetry is torn
into stanzas, letters, lines —
rubble and parts.
Ring, clap, do all you can,
but do not look back
into Eden. Be a good poem,
put yourself back together,
limb by limb, grow new fruit,
let the spirit crawl
up your roots,
stretch and yawn
a brand new song:
virtuous notes,
bandaged words
ring loud and clear —
fill the church
for all to hear
the crash that followed
the happy fall
was silent. But strain your trembling ears!
Listen to the bells
ring ring ring
tuned to each other
one and the same —
body to spirit has taken shape,
feathers are full —
Noah’s ark without the snake,
off to paradise,
just close your eyes…
welcome the bells,
welcome the blind.

Ring Him.
Fill Him.
Bring Him
from the sky,
a birth
from that pregnant cloud
let Him see through
human eyes,
let us
see through

       ~ After Milton

Author’s Note

Paradise Created was written in response to John Milton’s major works, including its namesake, Paradise Lost, as well as Areopagitica, De Doctrina Christiana, Il Pensoroso, L’Allegro, Lycidas, and The Passion. The main theme comes from Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which “a paradise within” (12.587) must be created in order to live virtuously. While following the events of the “Happy Fall,” the struggle of temptation in Paradise Lost, the misleading censorship of the church as delineated in Areopagitica, and the internal battle between mirth and melancholy in his twin poems, are all concepts that culminate in a call to faith. Drawing from Milton’s blindness and the references to sound within his works, I suggest that we must cultivate our own garden, as Voltaire says, in order to find truth within. In Milton’s words, watch as “body to spirit” (5.497) takes shape through my own travels and quotes from these great works, and hints towards Milton’s own life.

SERAFINA PIASENTIN attends the University of Windsor, but her writing stretches across the world. She has a passion for travelling, and her work reflects the little surprises life has greeted her with along the way. She is also an intern at Black Moss Press, a TA, and a lifeguard.