Operation EDEN

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?


T.S. Eliot, excerpt from Ash Wednesday




VIXEN cleared for intercept

Risk assessment commence


Real world


Real world


Section ingress atlas east

Target ICARUS confirmed

Activate PHANTOM gaze


ALPHA cleared for dash two

Engage true altitude

Zulu point JUNIPER moon


Flight deck tally JUDAS

Discreet frequency only

Maneuver D.B. Parachute


VIXEN sky kiss

Visual on BANDIT

Oculus padlock


Echo range stand by

ALPHA hand on throttle

Initiate Operation EDEN


VIXEN in red pursuit

Delta nine risk is PRIME

Permission to strike



Green light

Reconnaissance ops complete


Fire at will

Godspeed Valkyrie

Leave no trace





Started slow
Started late
Started strong
Then we lost faith
Started slow
Started to lose control
The more we accelerate
The more we accelerate
Can I send this kiss right to you now?
‘Cause the risk belongs with you somehow
Can I return this kiss that you gave?
Already know it’s borrowed anyway
Was the risk I sent to you received?
All the words we say to be believed?
I’m already over the thrill of pursuit
Where can I take the risk I took with you?
Send this kiss to someone new?
So there’s no way to hide
Find some daylight
There’s another way to leave the Garden of Eden
And I’m inclined to try
{Video features}
Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
IX. Orlando: Morphology
by Max Richter

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Amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus || Love is rich with both honey and venom

23 thoughts on “Operation EDEN

    1. Merci, Tom! I’d hoped you’d enjoy this, since you seem fond of military history.

      If only I could explain all the secrets and ciphers in this piece…. This is one of those theatrical but deeply abstract poems, that would probably benefit from a guide or a glossary of terms to provide insight into all the metaphors, codes, inspirations. But I also find it thrilling knowing most (if not all) my readers won’t have the full scope. It’s a mystery about a mystery. And only I hold the key.

      Maybe that’s a little selfish of me? Or. Maybe we deserve to keep some things close to the vest ❤

      Which is why Richter goes so nicely with it! I'm so pleased you noticed that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As you wish, Rob….

        (I) References / inspiration from and to Ash Wednesday, by Thomas Stearns Eliot.

        Per Wikipedia:

        “Sometimes referred to as Eliot’s “conversion poem”, Ash-Wednesday, with a base of Dante’s Purgatorio, is richly but ambiguously allusive and deals with the move from spiritual barrenness to hope for salvation.

        It is a poem about the difficulty of religious belief, and concerned with personal salvation in an age of uncertainty. Eliot’s poetic persona, one who has lacked faith in the past, has somehow found the courage, through spiritual exhaustion, to seek faith.

        When first published, the poem bore the dedication “To my wife”, referring to Eliot’s first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot, with whom he had a strained relationship, and from whom he initiated a legal separation in 1933.”


        To me, Ash Wednesday is as much a poem about struggling with newfound religious belief as it is a poem about struggling for ones identity in a relationship.

        My own marriage went through a very rough period earlier in the year and though we are working slowly toward healing – it ain’t easy. In fact it’s maddening and gritty work sometimes. It requires a lot of patience, humility and forgiveness.


        This poem is a metaphor for my husband and I learning to “fly together” again. Metaphorically working together to “target” the places of darkness from our past and separation.

        We are on a fictional mission to destroy a common foe so we can be “reborn” again.

        I open with the excerpt from Ash Wednesday to introduce the idea of exile, the “turning away” from love, the strange and sometimes cruel realization of aging, and the questioning if one can salvage themselves. All of these concepts figure into emotional distance.

        It segways into the military aviation battle sequence because I loved the idea of combining prose with tactical language.

        Two working as one.

        Bridges burn.

        Ash remains.

        The Phoenix rises from the ash.

        Love burns brightly once again.


        (II) Glossary of terms

        (1) HUNTRESS Command – the call sign (radio identifier) for the United States Air Force base of the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) located in Rome, NY. Responsible for “Operations through vigilant detection, rapid warning and precise tactical control” in response to hijacking and any/all other airborne threats on the East Coast.

        Interesting fact: they were tasked with scrambling fighter jets during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There are transcripts of their communications in real time as the horror unfolded, attempting to gather enough intel to get jets into the air. It was too late and there was no protocol in place at that time for neutralizing multiple threats at once.

        (2) VIXEN – my fictional call sign

        (3) Real World – not an exercise

        (4) Section – two or more planes working together tactically. (VIXEN & ALPHA)

        (5) Ingress – military code for approaching an enemy target / air space.

        (6) Atlas East – fictional code for coordinates / angle of attack

        (6) Icarus – from Greek Mythology, Son of Daedalus who dared to fly too near the sun on wings of feathers and wax. The name I chose for a fictional target/enemy plane.

        (7) PHANTOM gaze – fictional code for peripheral surveillance of an enemy. I liked that it rhymed with “phantom pain”, which is sensation from a limb that is no longer there. Layered metaphor.

        (8) ALPHA – my husbands fictional call sign. In real life I call him my Alpha Fox and he uses this as his moniker on video games.

        (9) Cleared for Dash Two – dash is a terms for acceleration toward attack in aviation warfare. Two is ALPHA’s position in the fictional section.

        (10) True altitude is the height of the airplane above Mean Sea Level (MSL), a value that represents the average sea level (because actual sea level varies).

        (11) Z pointe – military term for target location (Zulu also means time so I blended the terms to mean both arrival at target and to mark the time)

        (12) Juniper Moon – fictional code for the target location. In ‘Ash Wednesday’, Eliot opines,

        “Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
        We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
        Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,
        Forgetting themselves and each other, united
        In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
        Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
        Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.”

        (13) Tally JUDAS – Tally means identify. JUDAS is another fictional title for an enemy plane.

        (14) Discreet frequency only – to keep our business our own

        (15) Maneuver D.B. Parachute – D. B. Cooper is a still unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in 1971 and parachuted out with a ton of stolen money. This is a fictional command to get in and out quickly.

        (16) Sky Kiss – fictional command to raise elevation and fire from above

        (17) Visual on BANDIT – Military term for an enemy. Bandit and bogey are used interchangeably in dogfights.

        (18) Oculus Padlock – Oculus means eye. Padlock is a military term for “lock” target to fire upon. Fictional command meaning keep enemy in sight.

        (19) Echo range – A corner of the China Lake Naval Weapons Test Center outfitted with ground targets and electronic threat simulators. Many Top Gun training sessions occur over Echo Range.

        (20) Hand on throttle – (HOTAS) means be prepared to engage

        (21) Operation EDEN – the fictional (and metaphorical) mission of VIXEN and ALPHA. Objective – to find paradise again – by any means necessary.

        (22) Red pursuit – actively engaged in combat / chase

        (23) Delta nine – This is actually an inside joke. Delta nine is the psychoactive component in THC. (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) I am allergic to THC in real life as is my husband. It makes us act totally insane. So the delta-nine risk to us is PRIME hahaha


        These are the websites I used for research and reference if you’re interested:

        Click to access abb-glossary.pdf


        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thanks for clarifying it deeper below – so it could be read as a tribute how both of you work in unison to defeat the obstacles that risk souring a relationship? Mistrust, secrecy, jealousy, miscommunication, things like that?
        If that’s one of the possible interpretations, I love your unique perspective using fighter jets as metaphors! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, absolutely. It’s a hope for triumph as an intimate unit. It’s a symbolic fantasy of what we might achieve if we can fall back into rhythm. Thank you so much for actually taking the time to read my insane thought process! Haha. Most of my poems are as complex as this – lots of source material, “Easter eggs”, and visual/metaphorical reference. This was the first time I felt I should explain more in depth! It’s lovely that you showed interest.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No problem at all! 😀 It’s great to get more insight into what inspires you behind each piece, especially with such a different perspective exploring a deeply-familiar topic. Hidden meanings are so intriguing to explore and add so much depth to familiar themes – the icing that gives a cake its sparkle! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  1. How can I even begin to convey my awe at the depth and complexity that has gone into this? Reading it and listening without the explanation I felt my heart race, readying for battle, communications calm but urgent through the static. I got the sense of a metaphor for a relationship, and you clearly as vixen, the language delicate and beautiful but with its usual power and edge. And then I read the ‘cipher’ and I was blown away. Truly blown away by the layers in this poem and now feeling like I need to go back and absorb it carefully, as it deserves. Your talent and intelligence is immense. From literature greats through to the personal. I’ll say it again, I am completely in awe, you’re amazing

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rachel. You are a prism.

      I want to invent an actual language with the sole intention of describing how my heart smiles when I read your responses! I get this whole body flutter like… thunder startled birds scattering in a frenzy from winter trees into the darkened sky!

      It’s such a genuine thrill when your name pops up, because I already know, almost instinctively, that you will see straight to the “soul” of any creative endeavor.

      Then I rush to the words and the words …… are both an aphrodisiac and a blissful sedative for me.

      How do you do that? How are you both a plate of oysters and a lavender bath??

      Both a drug and the remedy.

      There is something so rapturous about finding someone who sees you. The real you. And for me, that person is you. Without question.

      And! The way you just elaborated on your experience with the poem has me giddy. Thats *exactly* how I wanted it to be felt and heard. Sensual, tense, cinematic.

      And yes– I’ve been told I have very complex, passionate “inner workings”. (But really that’s just people being nice, I’m sort of a lunatic for processing things so deeply, haha)

      I visualize poetry as a layering… of emotion / metaphor / visuals / music / film / cipher.

      I’m so complimented that both you and Tom took the time to look over the guide! I was worried it might be overwhelming.

      Sigh. How far away is New Zealand?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. April…. All I do is receive the gift of your words and respond to that gift… I always feel my words are inadequate in being able to that, so I am glowing through this prism that you see me through, and hoping that the colours and dimensions can convey the brightness with which I see you. The light is yours my friend. I feel I am clumsy and much more simple in how I write, my poetry does not possess the layers, the knowledge, the depth that yours does. But yet…

        “Both a drug and the remedy.”

        Being described like that is addictive and intoxicating in itself. If I were a cat, I would be twirling myself around your legs and jumping into your lap. I can’t help it, that’s the effect you have.

        I hope I can begin to see you as you are, it enriches and inspires me.

        NZ isn’t that far away, really. Especially not in our imaginations. Then, it’s just next door really. Or even in the same living room. You’re such an enigma!!!


        Liked by 1 person

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