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 Replies to “Tree of Knowledge”

  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.

  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.)

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

  4. 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.)

  5. 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…..

  6. 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.

  7. 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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