When we left the garden we knew that it would be
The new world we entered was dark and strange.
Nights were cold.
We lay together for warmth, and because we were
of the unnamed animals, and of the others;
we had never
known about the giants, and angels gone wild.
We had not been told
of dwarves and elves; they teased us; we hid
whenever they played.
Adam held me. When my belly grew taut and
began to swell
I didn’t know what was happening. I thought it was
of death, the very first death. I clung to Adam and
As I grew bigger something within me moved.
One day I fell
and the pains started. A true angel came and
pushed the grinning
creatures back. Adam helped. There was a tearing.
I thought I’d died.
Instead, from within me came a tiny thing, a new
red-faced, bellowing, mouth groping for my breast.
This was not death, but birth, and joy came to my
This was the first-born child. How I did laugh and
But from this birth came death. He never gave me
And then he killed his brother. Oh, my child. Oh,
my son Cain.
I watched from then on over every birth,
seeing in each babe cruelty ready to kill
For centuries the pattern did not change. Birth
always meant death.
Each manchild who was born upon the longing
in gratefulness and joy brought me only a fresh
of tears. I had let hate into the world with that first
Yet something made me hope. Each baby born
brought me hurrying, bringing, as in the old tales,
looking – for what? I went to every slum and cave
seeking the mothers, thinking that at least I could
their hearts. Thus perhaps the balance might shift
and kindness and concern replace self-will and
So I was waiting at that extraordinary intersection
of Eternity and Time when David’s son (Adam’s,
was born. I watched the Incarnate at his mother’s
making, by his humble, holy birth the one possible
of all that I by disobedience had done. I knelt and
Adam, and I cried, “My son!” and came at last to
— Madeleine L’Engle
Poem Source: Magnificat Magazine