Sunday, May 22, 2011

Received Wisdom (Poem)

Received Wisdom

Tree of Life:
shaft, branches, petals
in almonds' 
hammered likeness blossom white
to give forth brilliance.


Almond blooms
burst through winter's cold,
new branches
joining old.
Stems straight begin to bend, turn
up, reflect the light.


Roots deepen
in paths long traveled;
branches reach 
sky-high. Light's
cast, received. Ground in darkness,
sight and vision blaze.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I offer this poem in response to the Abbey of the Arts' invitation to participate in the 51st Poetry Party titled Sources of Wisdom. To illustrate the prompt, the Abbey provided the image above, for wisdom is personified as the Tree of Life. (Note: Anyone may participate in the Poetry Party. To have a chance to win a space in one of the Abbey's on-demand courses, add your response or drop a link to your poem in the comment box here by May 27.) 

I've chosen to describe the Tree of Life by using in my poem the almond tree, which has numerous references in the Bible. The almond tree is a source of Light or received wisdom; in Exodus 25:31-40, on which my first stanza draws, it is commanded that the lampstand's oil bowls be decorated with almond blossoms. The almond tree, which grows up to 25 feet high, matures early (promisingly), its white blossoms appearing in late winter, symbolic of the white hair of old age and thus also wisdom (see Ecclesiastes 12:5). In Isaiah 11:2, of the seven lights on the lampstand representing the seven spirits of God, one is the spirit of wisdom; when we gain wisdom, mature, we are able to see beyond what our eyes show us. 

The series is written in Shadorma form (that is, in six lines of 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables, respectively). 


nance marie said...

i like the poem along with the enlightening background information.

S. Etole said...

I thought of Jeremiah 1 as I read this.

Ruth said...

How beautiful to think of those almond blossoms as lights, and white hair.

I never knew all those connections. Lovely poem, Maureen.

Mikaela D'Eigh said...

Beautiful poem. My favorite line is "Roots deepen in paths long traveled." Makes me think of home.