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Washed away but not forgotten

May 4, 2013

Human beings develop attachments to trees and feel a sense of loss when they die. I wrote this poem when a banksia at the end of my street that I cared about finally succumbed to the erosion that has marked 2013 so far.

Washed away but not forgotten

Some locals say the bush had been around since they were kids in the 60s

It certainly looked old

It had that blown-back look like a bonsai clipped by winds

Like a soft serve icecream in a Dr Seuss cyclone

A few of the standing members of the bench of wisdom at Heron Avenue

Had talked with me about the chances of saving it.

But the consensus was the old banksia was doomed

Once the erosion had exposed its roots

It’s cactus, it’s had it

Just watch, there’s nothing you can do.

On Sunday we come down to the end of Heron

Garry, Cassy, Steve, Snappy and Dean

Hendo, Nic, Luke and Dan

To check the waves in the cold fire of the dawn.

The waves have eroded the foundations

Of our wooden lookout, our local meeting point is overhanging the beach

Then we look to the left, the old banksia has fallen

There it is three metres below, it’s propped dying on the beach, back to the wall, victim of the sea.

Today there’s no sign of the gnarly bush

The encroaching sea has unceremoniously buried my friend

Gone too the urchin like cactus that marked the boundary of the neighbours

It has slipped from its planted place down to the rocks and sand.

Where there was once a beach there’s just a wall

But the ubiquitous surfers still crawl down

Hoot and call as the memories wash away.

Wash away, for many but not for all.

One Comment
  1. Kerryn permalink

    Sad day!! You don’t feel like rescuing it and try planting it in your front yard? With some pruning back of the dead wood, the part that is green may survive!? It may be worth a try, seeing as it has significance to you. I have found that Australian natives have a limited life!

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