Lee Posna


there were two ſpyndels whiche were as whyte as ony ſnowe / and other that were as reed as blood / and other aboue grene as ony emeraude / of theſe thre colours were the ſpyndels and of naturel coloure within and withoute ony payntynge – Malory

Green as any emerald, greener
than the Green Knight’s emerald greaves,
the spindle Eve smuggled from Eden
on which grew the infamously green
apple, an apple not error in itself
but contained in a field of error wherein
we taste a full half of the sweet upon its loss
when our body floods with the juice
our sick tongues savoured not, an apple
harder by far than ever we
conceive. This branch, greener
than a sun-struck beryl, planted by a virgin, grew
to a great tree white as any snow, whiter
than snowglare, whiter than the Florentine light
of Beatrice resuming her silken seat
in the ultra-white rose. The white too was error,
not error in itself but contained in a winter
of error, when its white boughs gravid with snow
made wood and crystalline water ice one,
indistinguishable as waters undivided,
wherein one wanders past the whiteness
of his woman’s skin and worth lost
as among many hills of snow
in windy snow swishing away forests
and sees from a spreading cloud, helpless
to help it, his wandering body
to-shivering his heart. When Cain killed Abel
who died in the snow the tree went red.
Red, yes, as blood, redder
than rubies, nay, redder than garnets which are
as a lover’s cold lips to the deep red halls of hell
alive with traffic of Geryon’s cows bred
with the enterprise of a Jacob, such red
these boughs, the deep red red
of which is not error in itself, but contained
in a wound of error which closes before
the wound is healed like a book or life.

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