Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Friday, October 03, 2008

#131 Forbidden

I wake with lines of poetry thrumming in my head, each off in different directions. What to write about this week that’s forbidden, the prompt from Sunday Scribblings. I thought of sex, but that’s too private to write about, the draw of what is forbidden adding to what we wish, to be loved, first kiss, first touching, first sex.

Then I remembered my stepfather’s steel-tipped boots. He worked in a steel mill, and was laid off. Beer drinking, a bear of a man, frustrated once too often by my Hollywood mother, he would explode into violence. His rage was forbidden. And me, I left that place, pretending I didn’t belong. Every day at school, I passed for one of them, the middle class, those so polite people who looked as if they never got dirty, who didn’t move to a different school every year, who didn’t wear second-hand clothes. How shocked I was to hear them swear, to finally learn that wife beating was as common there as anywhere else.

And so I lost myself in libraries, worked my way through school to be in that place where books were valued. I found that some people did create harmony and beauty, not so wild a dream, and I finally fell truly in love. Then my child was born, and all that I wanted for me, I wanted for her. The years passed. My daughter grew up a musician and today is everything I could not be, yet herself. Perhaps it was forbidden to dream this life I now lead, but I do not think so.


From the first bite of the apple, even so
Eve knew more than we give her credit,
that line separating innocence from experience,
once crossed,
disappears. And yet, I want to know
when she first saw the apple,
was she curious
as she reached out and tasted?
Was it because of Snake hissing words
that promised godhood?

Sometimes we must say no
to ourselves first and to others.
Even the smallest steps take us to a different place,
out the gates and into the world.

Lillith knew this as well. She chose the blood
of babies and yet flies absolutely free,
seductive and dreaded in some evil fantasy.
The rest of us know that choice remains:
Do we honor Eve or Lillith?
Or is there something more?
We make our own reality as we go,
renouncing what is forbidden.

Read what others have written on this week's theme at Sunday Scribblings.


  1. An excellent soul searching commentary and poem, there. I think we all have a little of both sides of the human character in us. The secret, I think, is to control the one and nourish the other.

  2. Oh, this is a well-written poem! You bring freshness to an age-old dilemma!

  3. Wow. Good insight into the poem and prompt... thank you for sharing the paragraphs preceding the poem. The forbidden shapes us into the women (or men) that we have become and are yet to be. I'll be back to keep reading your writing!

  4. Our closest influences are the ones that shape us into what we become.

  5. Beth, your poem is beautiful, powerful and insightful. Thank you, too, for the paragraphs that preceded it. I think that,like Eve, we always live in precarious balance. I was going to quote lines in your poem that I particularly liked, but then I realized that I would be quoting almost the entire poem!

  6. I like the prose and poetry ... we all need to look inward and find our own truth. Peace, JP/deb

  7. Profound thoughts and poetry. Truly a special read!

  8. As an artist, I have pretty strong feelings about what should or should not be forbidden. I painted a self portrait series that caused me to explore my inner feelings in regards to feeling sexy as a woman over 50. It was a very uncomfortable series of work to paint... and yet, in the act of doing it I felt released from my own reservations about myself. I wrote more about this in depth on a site that hosts my nude work. What I wrote can be found at:

    Within that article I wrote:

    "Passion has a sense of violence about it, it is strong and it survives aggression. I don't want to paint passive art.. I want feel the obsession of lust inside its raw and primal pursuit. Within passion one finds a boldness full of enticing ambitions to grasp on to, that piece of your heart that presses you to go past the mark of a bystander, that spot you may have been told to stay put on. I will not stand on the X marked on the floor, not anymore."

    ~Kathy Ostman-Magnusen