Sorrow and Beauty in Equal Measure
Mottlecah - Eucalyptus macrocarpa
In 1842 a macrocarpa was grown from a seed at Kew Gardens
It flowered five years later in 1847.
In a crucible of fog and damp
mainly green and wildy weedy,
Victorian England turning steam driven,
mass produced, the miracle of sewing machines,
electric light, cars, the sorrow
of work, child labour, smoke haze,
swallowing up forest and farm.
Curiosity brought macrocarpa here,
by ship from the West Australian Desert.
With sun and wind stored in its seed husk,
older than Albion and its disappeared woods,
mottlecah grows lopsided and gangly in a hothouse at Kew.
As an object of study;
the colour of the flowers
is due to the stamens alone; for petals
(as in the genus) there are none.*
Extant from its country, it takes
five years of pale skies
to coaxe the flower from its shell;
one wild bright bushy flower
burning on the branch like a fire in the desert.
*Mottlecah - Eucalyptus macrocarpa quote from William Jackson Hooker