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POEM- BOTTLE TREES (NORTHERN TERRITORY)

BOTTLE TREES (9)

Ancient monuments
You sprout around the countryside
Your bloated trunks
Like drunken nine pins

The sun’s rays
Catch the sheen
of your satiny bark
Gunmetal shadows criss-cross
The bulging contours of your boles,
Spilling over onto the contours
of nearby rocks

I stand in the hot afternoon sun
Breathless with wonder
At the scene spread before me

Unfortunately, some clowns
Have carved their names
On your trunks
Some very famous names
One explorer dating back many years
Nevertheless, your bark desecrated
By thoughtless folk

And yet you wait
As you have waited for centuries
Before we came
And no doubt
Will still be around
After we have gone.

At night
I lie beneath your mighty trunk
You stand against the moon

And in the day against the rocky red of hillsides
I see you

Shimmering in a haze
Of parched countryside
Sometimes bare of foliage
While, yet again, others,
Yellow with autumn leaves, ablaze

You are etched in my memory
Forever you will remain.

Kunnunurra, WA, 1988

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