except embalmed in chairs, rises each night
in a forest of thick cries writhing
under bulldozer blades at Dorrigo.
A hundred years ago the trees had no need
to remember themselves back to life.
They were there in leaf, dense flesh, light
which the polished plains cannot forget.
Through the valley below the bare ridges
of Dorrigo I walk with Mark who rants,
The nearest thing to teak in Australia
and they heaped it up, watched it burn.
Rosewood, a tree that I have never heard
even now competes with dogs, cows, a pump,
the occasional detonation
of a good idea in a farmer’s head,
even now that forest of dead voices sings
in Dorrigo, shoves its silence sideways
like that climbing motorbike’s whining gears
a long way off, valley snuffed, ridge emergent.
Originally published in The shed Manifesto, (Scribe 1989)