Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

The apple said

‘In the Middle Ages, boar’s head used to be a traditional Christmas dish.  This custom started when a boar attacked a university student and he saved himself by ramming a book of Aristotle's writings down its throat.  The boar choked to death and then he cut off its head and brought it back to his college.’  —Christmas trivia

Sir Isaac Newton was born Christmas Day 1642.

Of course we’d like to understand

the stars and planets overhead

as well as actions close at hand

(the apple said),

to comprehend the universe

both in the large and in the small,

to learn (for better or for worse)

what moves us all.

From me you’ll learn before a book.

Don’t waste your time on wild boar’s head.

If Aristotle makes you choke

eat me instead.

My ancestor caused Eve to know

more than Jehovah thought she should—

but keeping us in darkness so

cannot be good.

Nevertheless I draw the line

at dropping onto Isaac’s head.

His inspiration is not mine

(the apple said).