Tree of Knowledge

This is what happens
when you start making up
your own mind:

the tree drops its tantalizing fruit,
sheds its leaves, & the woodlot
shrinks around it

until it stands alone in a line
of fence posts & telephone poles,
trembling neurons sifting the wind for sparrows.

You become as gods,
endlessly bifurcating,
simple as stinkhorns.

In place of paradise
there’s a field, a pasture,
a dishy blankness of sky.

***

In response to an image prompt at Read Write Poem. Other responses are linked here.

Photo by camila tulcan, licenced under a Creative Commons license.

10 Comments


  1. I enjoy reading this one over and over. Every stanza strong, but my favorites are #3 and #5. #3 especially, with its “trembling neurons sifting the wind for sparrows.” One of your finest poems yet, I think.

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  2. Thanks, Peter. Since the site was down, I had three days to work on it, but that didn’t make it any easier – my next-to-last draft still stank pretty badly. So I was kind of surprised at how well it turned out, and I’m glad the images resonated with you. (This was supposed to be my Festival of the Trees post, but I missed the deadline.)

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  3. You’ve dived into the image and drawn out a lovely poem, Dave. Nice, how you relate the evolution of a human to the ways of a tree.

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  4. Terrific poem, Dave. Like Peter, I especially liked the trembling neurons – but also your bifurcatng gods. And the word “dishy”. Congrats.

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  5. I’m sorry about your site problems, for missing your festival deadline.

    But… this poem is wonderful. I like specific lines /words as others have said, but I like the idea too (well maybe not like, but am riveted by): transformation of living to replicating communicators, from living forests to tools. Using stinkhorns! (how great is that as a metaphor and simile?) Using the mirror to symbolize dished. Great.

    (A loss to the festival.)

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  6. The picture is like a surrealist painting and I love your poem response! “dishy” – what an interesting adjective (yes, I agree with Beth)! Like Peter I have read this poem several times now…..

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  7. the words in this are so delicious: tantalizing, bifurcating, paradise, pasture, woodlot. so much to see.

    and i love the first stanza, that it announces what it’s going to tell us, and that it’s so intriguing.

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  8. Thanks, all. Maybe the lesson here from my forced blog fast is that I need to spend a little more time with poems before hitting the Publish button…

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  9. Kia ora Dave,
    I have been enjoying these recent poems seemingly centered around trees, great words and great photos.
    Cheers,
    Robb

    Reply

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