The Tree of Knowledge by Jonathon Penny

393px-Pears Tree of knowledge

What are we but flawed copies of the gods?
The blind-eyed sons and daughters of the Lord
Sown in the fallow field, a motley yield,
A haunted harvest on the eve of war?

What are we but his tender-bellied babes,
Sky-sprung, far-flung, let-fly, but kept in view?
The watching gods record our wounds and weep,
Not for what’s done, but what we daring do.

As a bright boy €”a gangle of loose limbs,
All knees, all ears and elbows, and all heart,
A green and guiltless prophecy of sin €”
I learned to ride the vagaries of hurt.

I learned to seek the salvages of joys
Best unsought, the soul-blown bold surprise
Of Godlit, growing girls and feckless boys
Before the world and wisdom claim their eyes.

Before the world and wisdom weather them,
A gangle of loose limbs they ride and run,
As if by running they’ll out-stride the stain,
And keep the fresh-field knowledge of the young.

My love, we’ll get it back. We have it still,
Our heritage essential as the veil,
As thick-and-thin; a sacred covenant
As sure as Christ, as revenant, as real.


Jonathon Penny took his MA in Renaissance literature at   BYU and his PhD in 20th Century British literature from the University of Ottawa. He has taught at universities in the U.S. and Canada, and now lives with his family in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates where he is Assistant Professor of English at UAE University. He has published on Wyndham Lewis and apocalyptic literature and is currently at work on several books of poetry for precocious pipsqueaks under the penname €œProfessor Percival P. Pennywhistle. € Bits and pieces may be found here. In addition to verse published on WIZ, his poetry has appeared at Victorian Violet Press and in Gangway Magazine and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Several of his poems have also been published in the landmark, recently released poetry anthology, Fire in the Pasture, from Peculiar Pages Press.   Jonathon also is Wilderness Interface Zone’s poetry editor.