Romancing the trees


Bark by Claire Rosslyn Wilson

undressing trees

leave skin at my feet,

a welcome home perfumes the air

I look for my comfort trees, sometimes find them, their branches used for vase decoration, for colds and runny noses. I look for origins in trunks and leaves, my check-list of colours and how they drop their leaves.

imagined moods picked out of books

feel them now,

dry leaves call as they fall


In cities trunks have a patch of compressed earth between cement. The ground looses body heat at night but can’t reach past the cement insulating footsteps from the cooling land.

military lines buck heads,

one leg to stand in sand

between rows of roofs and the roving sea

In Melbourne trees are dying, now reaching the end of their useful life. Expecting leafy greens, they’re replaced before bare frames become iconic. In a valley dam water drowns the feet of the trees, still standing silhouettes not yet ready to fall.

dry wood holding still

and hollow,

white lines fall between new growth

Die-off: the ‘off’ easing conversations about the dead thousands into a controllable drift.

a break in the conversation –

missing the link

I stand alone in a crowd

But when you walk between them you feel the ghosts in their bird-light frames, corpses still standing, rotting in breezes until a wind pushes over vacated wood as light as furniture. You can feel the calls of those left finding the spaces between their feet where their whole once stood.

last light through thinning skin

before the fall,

winds pick up

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