Cain’s Daughter

I was not in the garden when the veil of beauty tore
I heard no serpent beckon to me through the orchard door
I weep no tears beholding the angel’s flaming sword
For I never breathed the jasmine in the garden of the Lord.
I did not walk in Eden at the splendid Dawn of Days
I never heard His footsteps through shady ivy maze
Many are the stories of that time before the Fall
But all I know of Eden is this high and thorny wall.
Tell me – am I faithless that I should speak like this?
Must I dress in sack-cloth and mourn the end of bliss?
For I was born in exile beneath a fiery sword
And cannot dream of walking in the garden of the Lord.



Patricia Rogers Crozier has been published in The Washington Post. She holds a B.S. in Physics from Mississippi College. She resides in Gulf Breeze, Florida, where she works at the bakery in Publix.

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13 Responses

  1. Monika Cooper

    This is tremendous. “For I never breathed the jasmine in the garden of the Lord”! Mesmerizing rhythm in the long lines. And what a gift you have for phrases: “orchard door,” “shady ivy maze” just to name a couple.

    • Monika Cooper

      How much can be lost in just a couple generations. “Stories” are important: but are they enough?

  2. Paul Freeman

    Well argued, Patricia.

    Collective punishment is not the fairest of punishments.

    Thanks for an enlightening read.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Collective punishment isn’t exactly how Christian theology thinks of it. It’s more that once Adam and Eve sinned, they became addicted to sin and passed that on to us like a drug addiction. Our sinful nature requires us to suffer in order to become fit for Heaven, just as severe illness can require a doctor to do painful things to us to make us well again.

  3. Tom Woodliff

    Love this. I’m an avid Bible reader for forty years and never considered the perspective of Cain’s children. Nicely done

  4. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Patricia, that is such a beautiful, baleful poem that resonates with wonderful phrases that are enchanting and highly descriptive! Loved it!

  5. Paul Erlandson

    Thanks for this poem, Patricia.

    I like it when poets speak from an uncommon point-of-view, and Cain’s daughter certainly qualifies!

    One does wonder how accurate was the version of events that got passed down from Cain to his family, given our human tendency for revising history to our own advantage.

  6. Norma Pain

    I love this poem. It is so beautifully written and I just want to read it over and over again. It goes into my ‘favorites’ file. Thank you Patricia.

  7. Christopher Lindsay

    I enjoyed reading this poem. It’s very re-readable.

    I am curious– what is the meter? And what is the structure? The lines seem to vary from 12-15 syllables.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      It is written in a general iambic heptameter, though some of the lines have glitches where there are less than the expected 14 syllables. The glitches can be elided over in a viva-voce reading.

      • Christopher Lindsay

        Thank you. I wasn’t aware of a seven foot line.

  8. Joshua C. Frank

    I love the idea of a poem from the perspective of one of Adam’s grandchildren, and you’ve done a good job of writing in her voice. The meter’s a little off in places, but I love the use of imagery. Well done!

  9. Monika Cooper

    I may be going out on a limb here, since in meter and the other sub-verbal aspects of poetry, I meet the limits of my powers of analysis. But it seems to me that there’s another level of rhythm in this poem in tension with the iambs and disrupting them. I felt it in the poet’s other piece here at the site as well: Gloucester in July. (Maybe it’s trochees?) Gloucester in July at least scans out mostly trochaic for me and it gives the poem a hammering insistence.

    Cain’s Daughter may be an instance of what Hopkins called counterpoint in poetry. I find the rhythms in Patricia Roger Crozier’s poems here uniquely exciting, with stronger stresses taking the lead.


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