The Wasted Tree
God said, ‘Enjoy the Sacred Tree!
Don’t consume it,
Let it be..
Contemplate the fruit-filled bough
Wonder at beauty, bless and bow,
Reverence its inviolate charms
And leave in peace from the grasping arms
The Tree that exists for its sake alone
Not to be a victim of the take and own.’
But Eve attended to the Serpent’s lie
‘It costs you nothing,
Come and buy, for free, what God withholds from you,
He said you’d die. It isn’t true.
This tree is wasted.
Use it up!
Fill your empty knowledge cup.
Good and Evil you don’t know,
But eat the fruit and how you’ll grow,
Only gods eat from the Wasted Tree.’
‘Ooh says Eve, d’you think I should?
Still you’re right,
It does look good.’
Now kept out of Eden by a flaming sword,
The serpent is as true
As his slippery word
For now, consuming night and day
Good and evil come our way
And Eden, where Mankind could play
Becomes the sweat-toil of today.
The Sacred Tree was raped of fruit
We rape the world in a pure wool suit.
And violate the Sacred Day
The Sabbath that was made for prayer and play.
Sacred, useless, life-filled Tree
Save us from Efficiency!
But lo! I hear the sound of feet
Hurrying, scurrying to compete.
The Wasted tree of Life they seek
To make a good story for ‘Start the Week’.
The intellectual appetite needs
New thrills that old religion feeds.
Designer ideas to fill the mind
Out on the airwaves, tuned refined,
No thought unturned, left undefined
Packaged and marketed, PR entwined.
Sacred, useless, Life-filled Tree
Pulped to fiction for the BBC.
What leaf of life can I find of you
That might instruct us what to do?
What lef-fringed legend might I find
En-treasured in the poet’s mind?
Sap of spirit, silent voice
We cannot undo the choice
Good and evil we received when the serpent we believed.
Adam lost the Tree of Life
Though complicit, blamed his wife.
Exile we cannot undo,
But the Sacred filters through
Evil we cannot unknow
But can we let the wasted grow?
Can we listen for the silent sound
He who heard
Could not forget
Sacred, Life-filled, Sabbath Free
Shelter us, Oh Sacred Tree!
© Sarah de Nordwall 1996
Save us from efficiency. This poem challenges me to continue to view prayer and time hanging out with God as not being wasted time. It's easier for me to be task orientated than it is for me to be relational. This is a realisation I'm starting to understand more and more. Better to face it and deal with it than pretend it's not really an issue. I need to be saved from efficiency. I want to be fruitful not busy.
Thanks for the reminder Sarah – especially regarding the Sabbath!
p.s. one of my favourite Sarah de Norwall lines is in this one: "Pulped to fiction for the BBC" 🙂 It's a work of genius!!
There's a blog post by the redoubtable Marc Barnes about just this: that we love utterly useless things, not for their use but for their beauty.
'Good and evil we received when the serpent we believed' is such a fantastic line.
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