Peter and the Tree

Heavy rains finally broke the drought
A large eucalypt, perhaps 5 feet across, came down
Falling across a fence, it needed to be cleared away
I cut through the base with a chain saw
The two sections parted, revealing the grain
In the cross-section the wood had a strange newness
And it started to bleed a thick red sap
Not a little trickle from beneath the bark
But a rich, blood flow from 3 or 4 main arteries
Would it taste like blood? I was compelled
On my finger the redness rapidly congealed
And no, it tasted of the tree itself

That taste, so subtle, recalled another tree
Maybe I was eight when I tried that sap
It was a delicacy shared with Peter, my friend
He was my friend of wrestling, wars and discovery
He drew me apart, started the journey
From mother and brothers, to many friends
Years later I sought him out
He was desperately ill by then
Hands yellow from nicotine
He shook with inner demons
He took his own life (I think)
What is the colour of his blood?

Peter and the Tree


Emerald, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 12

Artist's Description

Poem about early friendship, memory, life. It is for my first friend. That first deep friendship is as memorable as one’s first love. Maybe it is one’s first love.

(The poem is not about Peter O’Sullivan whose obituary I have written also.)

Artwork Comments

  • Tom Godfrey
  • Anne van Alkemade
  • Popular Mr
  • Barb Leopold
  • transmute
  • Paul Louis Villani
  • Pilgrim
  • Ozcloggie
  • petruccio
  • indyjill
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