“River Red Gum” by Rachael Bartlett


I could never hold the wisdom that this River Red Gum holds

I am simply not big enough, nor will I ever get so old

I sit amongst its roots and accept that I am small

Its branches frame the sky so I don’t have to hold it all


Its waxy leaves they twinkle in the sun and in the rain

They fall and die and rot and then become the tree again

Purple, orange, white, what will the sun paint you today?

While you conduct the life below with the pattern of your shade


Eggs of owls and parrots stowed in your secret nooks and cracks

Then when day meets night you bloom with your erratic flocks of tiny bats

I wish that I was you sometimes, I wish I was so solid

But here I am, a little seed, a mobile hominid (that means human)


I, not so sophisticated, bones wrapped up in skin

I leak, I break, I tear, I burn, I can’t grow back a limb!

I cannot sit so still to ride the Earth around its axis

But sitting still and wisdom are two things that I can practice


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