The Fall Revisited

The implications of the fall
are endless in their reach;
that lowly serpent had such gall,
Eve’s failure to beseech.

Though what they chose when they did bite
that infamous red fruit
was bad enough for God to smite
them; He withheld pursuit.

Preferring then to extricate
from Eden’s fresh supply,
the pair, both Adam and his mate,
no choice but to comply.

The quest to be like God did not
result in promised ease,
just illustrates that when we ought
to follow His strict pleas,

We rarely do what we are told
the first time we are asked;
no different than a four-year old
avoiding what he’s tasked.

Although we’re warned not to indulge
in selfish fantasy,
reality, she does divulge
that what comes first is me.

Not God, whose words so righteously
lead to what’s good and pure;
a life lived far more fearlessly,
where hope and love endure.

Would I be as forgiving if
my orders weren’t obeyed
by those unfortunate enough
to have hands not well-played?

Or would I be the first to judge
the insubordinate,
to point out flaws and hold a grudge
and rub their nose in it?

Temptations’ grip creeps in so fast,
the cracks inside my heart,
that lessons from those years long passed,
remind us where to start.


A Dream Now Dead

a rondeau

A dream now dead, once full and fast,
can hurt as though a loved one passed;
to feel as if your hands are tied,
your hopes and plans again denied,
despite the progress you’ve amassed.

The wreckage reaches deep, it’s vast
like dynamite after a blast;
it leaves a gaping hole inside
a dream now dead.

Yet from the wreck, a salvaged mast
(of solid oak that does outlast
those petty thoughts, that foolish pride)
comes to a new deck yet more wide
and with good foresight soon sails past
a dream now dead.


Caroline Bardwell is a resident and native of upstate New York. She is a professional geologist, a mother, a woman of faith and a lover of music, art, literature and nature. She has a great appreciation for the structural guidelines and musicality of formal verse.

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9 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson


    Despite your good intentions and good ideas, these poems do not bard well. The grammar is all over the place, with dangling clauses (“Eve’s failure to beseech.”) & numerous disjunct phrases (e.g. “A life lived far more fearlessly”) Also, excessive use of pro-verbs (“did bite” & “does divulge”) are inserted into a line with a wrench! I shouldn’t like you to give up writing poems entirely, but please study normative English usage more thoroughly. Poetry is not the same thing as plate tectonics.

    • Caroline Bardwell

      Wow, C.B! Your comment seems a bit heavy-handed with the biting remarks. Perhaps that’s just your sense of humor failing to come across online. I have been following the site for 6 months or so and found it to be a fairly encouraging community, so I’m a bit taken aback. As they say, “All’s fair in love and war” so since I don’t have a poem of yours to judge on its mastery of the English language, I’ll critique your critique and how it measures up to current standards for the mature exchange of ideas in a constructive manner, without bullying, so the education can be mutual. 1) Mocking someone’s name in your discourse: generally frowned upon in schoolyards and amongst adults considered below the belt. 2) Insufficient use of examples: you indicated the “poems” (plural) we’re poorly written, yet you failed to provide examples from the second poem. Whether in a scientific paper or in an English essay, you would not earn a good mark for the omission. Perhaps you couldn’t stomach your way through the second one. 3) Based on my high school English teacher’s feedback (on this poem and others, but with less scathing remarks), there aren’t a lot of rules left in poetry. I felt I had license to change the sentence structure as I saw fit for the meter and I see repeated examples of the same thing done on other poems posted on this site. As an aside, I hope you are aware that your primary argument that the standards of normative English aren’t followed is one of the arguments from those who champion free verse over formal verse. 4) Attacking the person’s overall abilities rather than just the poems presented: The barb in your last sentence about plate tectonics was meant for nothing more than your own amusement and it was unnecessary to support your argument. It’s great that you are practicing your usage of geological vocabulary accurately in a sentence, but but I already know how to do that. So, C.B., to wrap it up, thank you for your feedback; I’m sure I won’t ever forget it. My suggestion for you is to learn a bit more tact with your language skills so as not to hurt feelings too much.

  2. E. V.

    Hello! “Caroline Bardwell” is a perfect name for a poet. I enjoyed your 4/17/18 Villanelles “How Can We Know” and “If My Garden Will Grow” as well as the above rondeau, “A Dream Now Dead”. You definitely have poetic talent. I think “The Fall Revisited” has powerful poetic potential and, perhaps, if you decide to glean C. B.’s constructive criticisms (from his more “heavy-handed” ones), the poem can be transformed from good to great. I believe a lot, if not most, writers (myself included) sometimes prematurely reach the conclusion that a piece is done, when it could still benefit from minor edits. I guess the possibility of harsh (even cruel) comments is a risk we willingly take when we permit our work to be published. However, it’s also a risk we must keep taking if we choose to pursue writing careers. Please don’t let any negative feedback discourage you from submitting your work! Most SCP members are kind most of the time, and you are a valued poet here. I look forward to reading more of your work. Have a great 4th of July.

    • Caroline Bardwell

      Thank you, E.V. for your words. I will not be discouraged and yes, I will certainly consider the valid points he made, despite the delivery. I am baring my soul every time, just like everyone else. I liken his remarks to telling an enthusiastic young painter without a college degree in fine arts to stop painting and go matriculate before he went any further embarrassing himself. But fortunately I’m old enough to stand up for myself. I think that most poems can benefit from revision continually and there is some truth to what he said. The same premise applies to commenting online however – I think C.B. hit enter prematurely and could have benefited from a bit more revision before publication. He could learn from Monty’s example of tasteful criticism of my rhyming riddle entry #1.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    I’m sorry, Caroline. I often go to bed at night (or wake up in the morning) wishing I hadn’t posted certain comments, but — dammit — we’re all Anglophones here. From your articulate and pointed reply I gather that you are a very smart person, but, like me, have a few bad habits. I can’t go over everything you wrote, because neither I nor the readers of these comments have that much time. But when you wrote “license to change sentence structure” I knew immediately what the problem was: This tendency to wrench syntax (in the cause of metrical justification) was one of the things that caused people like Pound to eschew tradition altogether. So let’s speak English to one another; if we can, then I promise to be more polite in the future.

      • James A. Tweedie

        It seems that those whose versified syntax
        Is deemed by worthy critics to be out of synch,
        In self-defense may deflect such attacks
        By pointing out that other poets seem to think
        That such creative rearrangements may
        Be justified when rhyme and rhythm both conspire
        To replace common speech with that which they
        Believe the verse, the meter, and the message all require.
        In this debate I shall not take a side
        But leave it all for others to decide.

      • Caroline Bardwell

        I like the poem James! It captures the situation perfectly.

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