Poetry by Philip M. Williams

The Tree of Knowledge

Recall the time so many years ago
When, rising from the variegated green
And pleasant land, that much maligned tree
Nurtured an apple fair?
The serpent took a hit upon a day.
Around the trunk in upward coils it wound
With iridescent muscularity
To seek one apple rare.

Oh wretched thing
To sleekly bring
That gift to mother Eve.

What in the world could possibly twitch
Our primeval mom’s great gardening zeal
To rebellion’s appeal?  Adam soon follows?
In seeking this vice with which serpents entice,
Travel to Harvard Square.

There, within a building grand and old,
A cooperative nest to grads young and bold,
At farthest distance from the opening door,
Surrounded, nay sheathed, with stacks of books galore,
There, displayed in printed pride of place,
There, baring the fruits of learning’s grace,
So sweet, livened in leaves, with cover’s
Delectable, sensual, enticing, soul grasping face,
There, in movement and stillness, in circular poise,
There, drawing in our restless mind, coiled
Seducing, rewarding, attracting, all naked
With splendor, there, resting in layers, floor to floor,
There stretches a stairway, that offers the known.

To learn, and so to know, does serve
To plant us on this spinning globe.
Since evil known is evil stopped,
Say yes to apple’s larger thought.


A riff on Milton's Paradise Lost                                                                                       9/9/04
This is a near perfect set of stairs winding up to the 2nd floor of the Harvard Coop




  List of Poems:

Songs of war

1. Song, on reading Hitchens' Good Time for War
2. Alexander

3. Acela Express
Birthday Songs
1. Birthday Girl
2. Travel

Stairs in and around Harvard College
1. Stadium Sonnet
2. Gund Hall Stairs
3. Harvard Coop Stairs (Tree of Knowledge)

Odd Songs
1. Piss Tish
2. Poison Ivy Blues
3. The Boston Room

Peace and Love
1. Sea of Love
2. Distant Moon
3. Anti Faustian Pact
4. It is an Honor

5. My Tin House
Old Age
1. To Jack
1. In Memoriam
2. The Judge


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