This poem was inspired by an ancient gum tree that grows in my backyard.




From the first day I moved into the old house on the hill the tree had fascinated me
and scared me a little too.
Its great trunk split down the middle, arthritic branches like two misshapen arms stretching up towards the sky.
A living tomb for a poor tortured soul eternally trapped inside.
Sometimes, when the wind was wild and the cumulus clouds would scurry overhead, the tree would creak and groan as if the trapped soul was voicing its pain, anguish, and longing for deliverance.
Over the years,
the seasons came and went and still
the tree
Indomitable and proud it endured the surprisingly bitter cold winds of winter that slammed into it, hell-bent on toppling the giant from its
pride of place.
During the summer it maintained its stalwart posture of silent supplication under
the harsh merciless heat of the Australian sun.

In the moonlight, its thick ghostly white skin would shimmer and glow like it was lit
from within.

Housemates have come and go, but still the tree continues to gaze across the yard towards the house.
Each morning it greets me and nightly it watches like a silent sentinel.
Even when I finally leave to explore wider pastures, I think that tree will continue to faithfully guard the occupants of the house.
A testimony of endurance: that great strength is not always found in the obvious but in the seemingly obscure and unexpected places of the natural world.


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