Tree of Knowledge

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By Kent Wittenburg

Recorded by author

Black and white photograph looking up the worn and split trunk of a large tree whose branches spiral above.

never moving from your spot for decades
centuries even

The chickadees flutter
picking at hopes
in your lower extremities
The eastern peewee sings sonatas
from your summit

When the wind picks up
you amplify it
When the sun beats down
you luxuriate in it
When it rains
you shelter those below

Your tangled roots connect with those around you
with those before you
You suck their offerings
through your toes

Your bark is shelter for the ants
Your leaves breakfast for the butterflies
Your fruit solace for the birds
Your breath means life for all 

You know no past no future
You have no desire
to be elsewhere

You know no past no future
and yet
you know it all

Recorded by Molly Brown

Kent Wittenburg retired in 2018 from a career in technology research and lives with his wife in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He is active in environmental advocacy and religious/spiritual education with local communities and enjoys the arts as well as the outdoors in the area.   His first book of poetry, The Story is Beginning and Here I am Soaking Wet: Poems for Forest Bathing, was published in 2019, and other work has appeared in The Prose Poem: An International Anthology (translation), La Piccioletta Barca, Beyond Words Magazine, Small Moon, and literary magazines at Hampshire and Amherst colleges.

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