Lemon Tree

By Landis Everson 1926–2007 Landis Everson
A tree that grew in the Garden of Eden
a tree of innocence called
the Tree of Good and Evil. It was harmless
as opposites are in balance. It was also
the taste of innocence before it is betrayed.
When God removed the wall
he gave the lemon thorns and bitterness because it had
no hostility.
It is a taste we want most to subdue. It asks
to be left alone.
We use it with fish and tea. We sugar it.
Look out the window. It stands with a donkey’s
stance, hoping the day will pass.
Its scent through the curtains
cuts through
mustiness, sharp
with sweet blossoms. It hides the smell
of new babies.

Landis Everson, "Lemon Tree" from Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005. Copyright © 2006 by Landis Everson.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 (Graywolf Press, 2006)

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Poet Landis Everson 1926–2007


Subjects Living, Life Choices, Nature, Trees & Flowers, Religion, God & the Divine


Poet Landis Everson was born in Coronado, California. He studied at the University of California-Berkeley, where he was poetry editor of Occident and a member of the Berkeley Renaissance, a group of writers that included poets Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Robin Blaser. After studying for an MA at Columbia University, he returned to the San Francisco area and became involved in a weekly workshop with his fellow Berkeley poets. . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Nature, Trees & Flowers, Religion, God & the Divine


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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