The First Philosopher

Dorothy, Ciera Land

novel is new, but The Novel is not.

Poesis. Poesie? Poetry! 

Glass shatters, I escape God.

Forget the Book, I want to create, to produce something new–

What is new?

God isn’t new. 

And neither is equating sunlight to heaven.

And maybe a long time ago someone wanted to grasp at the golden leaves atop the tree at sunset as though the sun-dipped leaves are golden apples (God, what I would give for a nice Honey Crisp right now) that will tell us the truth or understanding or or or something and be worth all the trouble we faced as we climbed that tree, as we fell and got back up again, braving that damned cold wind biting through our jackets, through our skin, through our bones, down to our very own soul. 

Maybe someone else has desired that taste of heaven that drips down to the treetops for a brief moment on Earth and was met with only leaves dancing along the starry night sky instead of a golden apple.

Is this new?

Is this a poem? 

I don’t know. 

But isn’t there something to a feeling, even if someone else already felt it, already wrote it?

Something pushed Eve to climb that tree–a snake, a thought, it doesn’t matter–and

She showed Adam, a man enshrouded in shadows, the path to seeing the Leaves–

Just as something pushes me to climb that tree in almost frozen weather because the top is calling me, calling out to my apple craving and my yearning to bask in the warmth of the sun as thick as honey, even though I know the leaves are not really apples and that sunlight isn’t really warm honey. 

What is it about the metaphors, 

that even though I know the leaf is not an apple,
it is still something I want to hold in my hand?

God, someone, something doesn’t want us climbing, looking, searching for what is at the top:

We must stay looking at the shadows of the leaves on the ground. 

We must stay content with the answers and understanding we have now at the bottom of the tree.

But Eve disobeyed, just as I set down my backpack and climbed a tree on a Tuesday afternoon, and insisted on trying something new to get closer to the Forms. 

The first philosopher and me:

Climbing a tree.

Yearning. Slipping. 




We may be banished from the garden, 

But society would be dead without Eve.

About the Author

Mel Rahe · George Mason University

Mel Rahe graduated from George Mason University in December 2020 with a BA in Global Affairs and two minors in Philosophy and German Studies. They are currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Philosophy with a concentration in Cultural Theory at George Mason University. Mel has been writing poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction essays prolifically since middle school. In addition to creative writing, they have a strong interest in learning languages, creating visual artworks, and thinking philosophically about literature, art, and culture. “The First Philosopher” first appeared in Volition

About the Artist

Ciera Land · California State University

Ciera Land graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Art History and an Interdisciplinary Minor in Humanities. Throughout her collegiate career, she studied abroad in England (2017-2018), Greece (2018) and Italy (2018), was initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (2018), and worked in the Fresno chapter of the Prison Arts Collective (2019-2020). Her achievements include: The Edward O. Lund Scholarship (2017), The Adolf Odorfer Art Scholarship (2018, 2019), The Bertha and John Garabedian Scholarship (2019), Chancellor’s Gallery Awardee for CSU Summer Arts Drawing Outside the Box (2019), Best Painting at the Senior Student Art Exhibition (2020). This piece first appeared in Furrow. Follow her on Instagram @lacedrain. 

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