Thursday, December 13, 2007

One themed essay by John A. Ward

Sin and Punishment
by John A. Ward

It wasn't that he stole fire but that he gave it to man that put a twist in the immortals' knickers. They tied him to a rock and let the eagles eat his liver. That's the last we heard of Prometheus. You'd think someone would have tried to rescue him, but no. They just went on cooking and left him there. "Thanks for the fire," they said, “bummer about your liver."

The same thing happened to the serpent. He gave Adam and Eve the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and what did he get for it? He had to crawl on his belly for the rest of whatever.

In that case, the humans got the boot too. They had to go forth and multiply, do logarithms and calculus, and bear their children in pain. The Roman gods were nasty, but they weren't nearly as vindictive as the one true God, who, by the way, is made up of a committee -- the Father, the Son and the Holy Spook.

I think it may be due to the lack of female deities in the new religion. The deal now is to punish both the giver and the receiver. Of course, I may not be seeing the whole picture. Fire is a gift; you can use it to cook, fire pots in a kiln, and forge steel, but it can also get out of hand and burn you. So maybe the pagan gods and goddesses knew that it would backfire on humanity. The knowledge of good and evil is the same.

Before humans had the gift, they could do anything and there was no sin, but once they knew, they began dividing everything into good and evil. Just as one religion's gods are another's demons, one's goods are another's evils. The Christians got to the table late, so they had to label all of the fun stuff evil. Now they're constantly in trouble, sinning their tails off because they really like it. It all started with original sin.

Author bio:

John A. Ward was born on Staten Island, attended Wagner College in the early 60's, sold his first poem to Leatherneck magazine, and became a scientist. He is now in San Antonio running, writing and living with his dance partner. He has published in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Toasted Cheese, Green Tricycle, Apollo’s Lyre, Clockwise Cat, Alighted Ezine, Cenotaph Pocket Edition, The San Antonio Express-News, Antithesis Common, Wild Child, Idlewheel, Sentence, Sun Poetic Times, Byline, Quirk, ken*again, R-KV-R-Y, The Smoking Poet and Long Story Short. Links to his work can be found at Dancing Fool.

Editor's note: A fictional incarnation of this essay previously appeared Doorknobs & BodyPaint in November 2006, under the title of "Saints and Sinners."

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