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Ravensthorpe

Crucible of eucalypts
a woven thread
a spiritual tome
a million forms
a vast oration
a book of poems
a structure
a complexity
a symphony
mallee, mallet, moort and tree
 
Ravensthorpe was a bishop’s parish
Ravensthorpe England a world away
but the settlers showed persistence
now a spiritual home for eucalyptus
 
Pluricaulis, calycogona, incrassata,
captiosa, corrugata and deflexa
species to describe the complexity
 
Capped, wood line, narrow leaved
entities by names across the ranges
fine leaved, nodding, cascading or lerp
gathered here, in country, on ancient earth
 
Hybridising and mesmerising like lines
From an old song with a haunting chorus
They hold the landscape together
Gripping its essence with a familiar tune
 
Glaucous clumps on crowded hillsides
weeping forms swaying in homage
to the prevailing southern winds
Clustered densely on coast and isles
Inlet, granite inselberg or schist rock
kwongan sand and sharp valley
All distinguished by this name mallee
 
Botanical names and scientific jargon
broad lanceolate with red flowers
many with conspicuous colourful bark
if you stare closely at a leaf are they stomata
or is the leaf venation obscured due to oil glands?
 
Broad little lid in Latin or just a glorified stalk
broader shorter opercula or just botanical talk
 
Eucalyptus armillata, the flanged mallee is from
Armillatus in Latin meaning ornamented with bracelet
this can hybridise with the glazed mallee or tenera
meaning delicate in reference to the slender parts
Erythronema is Greek in reference to red filaments
Arachnaeus from Latin spiderlike appearance of buds
 
The language of the botanists
as they seek to understand
and the words of the poets
as they express their response
to the land
 
 

Go to Luke Sweedman's profile to read more poems

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