Thursday, March 15, 2018

“Temptation” by Sylvia Cavanaugh

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Temptation” by Sylvia Cavanaugh. Originally from Pennsylvania, Cavanaugh has an M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin.  She teaches high school African and Asian cultural studies and advises break-dancers and poets. She and her students are actively involved in the Sheboygan chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change. 

Cavanaugh’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies.  She is a contributing editor for Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry. Finishing Lines Press published her chapbook, Staring Through My Eyes. A second chapbook, Angular Embrace, is forthcoming in April 2018 from Kelsay Books. You can find more of Cavanaugh’s poetry at

Sylvia Cavanaugh

Paralyzed by food
"Reverse Birth" Ink on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
the garter snake
helpless and limp
lies by the side
of summer’s dirt trail

the enormous impossibility
of swallowing that frog
like childbirth
in reverse

if eating were that traumatic
let’s face it
I could slink
cold-blooded cool
past untold bounty
pizza, pasta, even chocolate

I might have the time
to find a woman 
and spill my secret plot

Poet’s Notes:  I was walking along a dirt trail to Lake Michigan and saw a garter snake off to the side. It was limp and helpless but grasses obscured its head. At first, it appeared that the snake had suffered an injury, but upon closer examination, I found that it was working a frog through its jaws. It looked painful and rendered the snake completely helpless. I moved the snake further away from the trail so that it wouldn’t be stepped on. It was shocking to see how traumatic the act of eating could be.

Editor’s Note:  This one is filled with goodies!  I especially like the image created by the brilliant metaphor of giving birth in reverse, a concept of which Neil Gaiman would approve (ref:  American Gods).  The wicked idea of slinking past the delicious food followed by the Genesis reference produced an involuntary "wow!" from me. 

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