the tree of life…

The Celtic Tree of Life was the image I’d settled on for this tattoo. There is something engaging about this tree, the one we left behind in favor of the  Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The story reminds me of the scene played out day after day in my children. They are so eager to know what the adult world holds that they’re willing to leave behind the innocence, the “now”  and go right to the “not yet.”  Perhaps this is what religion is all about, trying to reclaim what was lost, trying to reconnect with the tree of life, the re-find the innocence we throw aside so willingly.

In reality, there is no physical tree like the one I have drawn on my shoulder. The Dogwood tree comes close although the blooms here are done in blue, a nod to the mother of God.  According to tradition the story of the meaning of the Dogwood is this:

These flowers also have meanings to them like every other flower. The mythical meaning of the dogwood flower is that the tree was chosen to provide wood for Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. However, the tree was unhappy about this cruel act it was forced to do, and thus Jesus after being nailed to it, told it this;

“Because of your regret and pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross, two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the middle of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember …”

I have not written a poem for THIS tree…that’s next, I hope. For now, even thought it’s not Poetry Tuesday I can tell you what I know of the “other” tree.


genesis: eat


I know the other voice

in the garden

near the tree

silky, sibilant

each sentence end

dropping suddenly

sotto voce-


sketching stunning spectacle

words fill me

with false flattery

a meal I can touch

but not take in-


it leaves me


hungry for excess

spent without cause-


the promise, then,

this fruit, hanging ripe and red

held up as antiphon

to my newly minted need

calls out simply-

take and eat


©ADC 2011

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