Snakes and Ladders

The ladder stretches all the way to heaven
Beside a stepping stone become the head-rest
For the upwardly-mobile, hard-headed ladder-climber
Helped up by angels striding two at a time;
Those left behind seeing only calloused feet
And a soul toughened by relentless ambition
With hardly time to rest at night.
While offspring of the Garden of Eden writhe,
Cold-blooded creatures with a bite, not a bark,
Curled up in the warmth of a summer’s day
Waiting for prey, tattooed across the torso
Willing to shed or save their own skin
In the updating process of make-over
And the endless deception of fashion.
But the climber dreams of yet higher heights,
Hopes ever frustrated by ensnaring entanglements,
Head still in the clouds, damned by desire;
Tripped up by aspirations and a Freudian slip,
Taking life’s chance with the throw of the dice,
But paralysed by a poison that lets him down
And shows he’s a fallen creature after all.
Angels and serpents disappear; the dream dies,
But down the ladder comes an ordinary man,
Earth-bound from above, among us in real-time,
Saying: Leave the stone, there’s work to be done;
We can manage without a ladder.
Let’s get going; I’ll go with you.
And deal with that deceiving serpent as we go.
July 2013  

Read the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and also Jacob's dream.