Author's Note: This is an experience my wife had, and when she told me about it I realized right away it was a poem. But I resisted it. It was too easy in a way. Too obvious. And then I thought, no. This is here, it’s being given to me, and I so simply wrote it down—and then later, as it started going through different forms, first as a poem, then as a prose piece, and back as a poem, the metaphor of the Torah as an orchard suddenly fit itself in there and deepened it, I think. I hope. The best feeling: when I took the prose version and put it back into poetry. Such a release.
Cresting the hill you see it,
above the fields and the tops of the walnut trees,
low in the sky, very close:
a giant, hot air balloon, red and blue and green.
And there’s a word spelled out on the side,
the letters tall as people: T-R-U-S-T.
You assume it’s just advertising.
You think, there must be the name
of a bank on the other side.
But lately you’ve been so anxious. So afraid.
Long ago the Jews believed the Torah
was an orchard. From a distance all we see
are trees, but there are branches, too,
closer in, crissing and crossing,
and there are leaves, a profusion of leaves,
and there is the fruit in its many colors,
and the nuts in their many shells,
and beneath the skin the flesh,
and within the flesh the seeds.
And then you reach the bottom. Level out.
And the trees are wheeling past you,
the walnut trees, twisting and gnarled.
The rows are flashing by, one after the other,
the long, deep, darkening lanes.
© 2018 Chris Anderson
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