Bastard Jarrah*
I planted you
In the days of youth
You take up most of the front garden now
Where I grew up too
But it’s your home still and you live there as you always will
How have the years passed?
You have stood there all this time growing in girth
Getting wider and taller
40 metres high now
Mighty healthy awesome and embracing the sky
Taller than the windows of my once house
Taller than roofs
Higher than that soaring letterbox lid which exploded with a two-penny bunger
It happened in your front yard
That summer
And both my parents saw…
You were only young then
And you witnessed too
Remember their looks?
And the world moved on from there
Around you it spun
But you ignored all the changes
And stood firmly at the centre
Your centre
You Eucalyptus Botryoids you didn’t have to make decisions about the future
What to do when you grew up
How to have friends
How to make a living
What was important
What was not
You were beyond all that
You with your head in the lofty heavens
And feet tightly in the earth
Those things were the domain of the moral and mortal
The mad and the sane
You who could live for hundreds
If not thousands of years
You are other than these preponderances
You Southern Mahogany
Home to laughing jackassed kookaburra
lorikeets and wagtails
Butcher birds thwacking their prey against your rough skin
And brush tailed possums
Home to a million invertebrates
Spiders caterpillars stick-insects centipedes
bumble bees…
You are the tree of life for life
The family tree and the tree of me
Even when I’m gone
Bangalay you will be there
With your blue leaves and gum blossoms glistening and shiny
with sweet-sweet sticky nectar

*This tree is Eucalyptus botryoides, commonly known as the bangalay, bastard jarrah, woollybutt or southern mahogany. 

May 2020