The White Gum by the Paddock’s Edge – Peter Skeet

This white gum, guard
of the paddock’s edge
stretches brittle fingers
offered to ‘the readiness’,*
gaunt, wayward branches, leaped,
are bleached as old bones
clutching deeper into anonymity
all the agonies of marrow long
forgotten in the ‘no worries’ sun;
and all the musing while of my long
inquisition, leaf lances ripple
where honey-eater warble trickles
over a rare intermission.
For though the weeping hang of it
so wind pliant
triggers an erroneous
willow recognition
as if the oiled clicks of cricket bats, plump,
might green-screen over zuzzing flies
and the busy waves of wind-trains,
it’s the dominant roar of jets
heading from Melbourne to Tasmania
or to Wellington in
‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’
and the cockatoos, too, remind us
who are the real kings of din –
‘Too right, old mate. Too right!’
This tree scored its century
some time ago. Since the founding
of this farm, how many egos
have reflected themselves
off its lissome boughs, its twisted boughs,
while black ants crawled beneath the words?