736. Paradise Lost
© Bruce Goodman 16 October 2015

MILTON! thou shouldst be living at this hour…

Nancy, on a social media website, discovered she had gained extraordinary powers. She had no idea where these gifts came from. Simply by typing, she could rearrange history. It was not a rewriting of history; any historian can and does do that. This was a lot more profound. What Nancy wrote became what happened. Is it possible to change the past? One would have thought not. But Nancy defied the facts.

Nancy’s lecturer at university (Nancy was all of nineteen and finding the pursuit of academics relatively tedious) had given the students the poetry of John Milton to study. Nancy couldn’t understand a word. It went on and on. She was quite lost when it came to Paradise Lost.

"I know!" thought Nancy, and she began to type. John Milton lived in another time. He met and fell in love with Helen Steiner Rice. Helen asked John to help write her poems. Here’s what they wrote together:

Once there was a snake,
Which is enough to make me quake,
Who said to Adam and Eve
This is what you need.

The snake gave them an apple
(This is to the parents of all people)
And Adam took a bite,
Which wasn’t right.

God was annoyed
And asked Adam why he enjoyed
Eating the apple, and
Adam still had the core in his hand.

Adam blamed his wife
Who, full of strife,
Blamed the snake, whereupon
The snake didn’t have a leg to stand on.

And so what happened to
Adam and Eve?
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.

Helen wasn't too sure about the last two lines, so she crossed them out.

Contact Author
Back to Story Listings
Next Story
Previous Story