by Kate O’Neil
The scribbly gum is a eucalyptus tree with a very smooth, pale trunk. The distinctive brownish ‘scribbles’ are made by the larvae of the tiny scribbly moth.
Tall custodians of scribbled mysteries,
What can you tell us, silent trees?
What tunnelling scribes find sanctuary
within this covert library?
Mere larvae, small but diligent,
whose little lives are wholly spent
to leave these ciphers in your care
’til later times reveal them there.
What is the urgent need that drives
this tracery of transient lives?
What are the messages layered here
in darkness? Why, year after year
do you allow these prophets in?
Is there an itch beneath your skin?
Are you, tall gums, merely content
to give their need your nourishment?
Or do your lives and theirs conspire
to keep these riddles from our eye
’til when these poets take their leave,
you wear their heartsongs on your sleeve?