I tend to keep poetry for another blog-space but then reminded myself that Sailor Lily started out as my sole 'writing space' for all things. This poem came about when thinking of all the avenues of elms dotted around little Australian country towns. Often called 'avenues of honour' there would be an elm or gum tree planted along the road for each man lost to war. I wondered: if those beautiful trees, or the very earth that soldiers were ostensibly protecting could whisper to them who had died, would they try to console?
Homecoming to farm after war.
Opened by a round of shell how was he to know?
Father and Mother buried him
And then the ground and dark closed in
But the banksias crouched over him
And his sister came with seeds of heath
Who grew their blooms to softly whisper:
“Epicaris impressa, I grow tall and slender
White against the sky.”
And “correa reflexia”, chant the native fuchsia
“My brown-furred leaves to warm you
In the cold ground to adorn you
We of roots can never die”
(common flat pea over me I lie and lie and lie)
And his shell, his very bones are crumbling
The grasses grow and hiss
The years as steady as the drip
Of the yard tap, where Bubby plays and grows, waits then goes.
Daddy coughs and spits then goes…
And he of earth in earth won’t know
That Mum is forced to sell
That Sissy moves to town with Aunty Mavis,
And marries well…