Serpentine Meditations on Power/Knowledge

Georgia NeSmith
9 min readFeb 13, 2020
Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

I wrote the prose poem below about 35 years ago, while I was in graduate school. I was supposed to be writing a paper on Foucault, but instead, this rumination bubbled up.

Foucault is definitely a hidden character in this play on Genesis — written from Eve’s point of view, and informed by feminist theology. “God the Mother” was swallowed up, obliterated by “God the Father” and the resultant patriarchal social order.

SERPENTINE MEDITATIONS ON POWER/KNOWLEDGE

[Wo]Man may be born into the world, a whole [wo]man. We are all women-folk, male and female, featured toward this birth. We are all Mary, virgin and undelivered, to whom the announcement has been made, in whom the infant grows. — Mary C. Richards[1]

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

The Serpent was right.

Crafty as s/he was, s/he knew what that old fart Yahweh was up to. That worm could slither through the hidden spaces in Creation with abandon; s/he saw and heard it all, saw that old fart Yahweh bind and gag Mother, swallow Her up and eat Her whole, then act as if She never existed.

Yahweh envied Mother’s creative power, wanted it for himself, and so he swallowed Her, believing, like the cannibals, that one takes on the power of the beings one eats.

He’s been belly-aching ever since.

Being a god is no picnic, but what did I know before I tore into that fruit? The Serpent knew, but s/he wouldn’t tell me all, only enough to persuade me to disobey.

To be as a god, knowing both good and evil . . . what a nice ring that had to it! If only I had known what would come of it all, I might not have chosen. . . ah, but then if I had known it all, the choice would not have been mine to make.

Because knowing is what the whole thing was all about, right?

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Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.