Tag Archives: brittlegums

two snapshots and three short films

I (1700 to 1730)
White lines flicker by like heartbeats
on a black macadam river.
Hills flow slowly by
beneath an indeterminate sky –
pastel-apricot blends imperceptibly to dove grey,
before the rising blue flood of night.

II (1800)
From the kitchen window the sky is a flower,
above the scalloped edge of the ridge
an inch of golden yellow ribbon
trims a blanket of purple velvet
specked with the first few stars.

III (1900)
Above the trees,
whose presence is implied
only by the stars that they hide,
Orion has tipped over sideways –
a fallen statue beside a milky stream.

IV (0530 to 0540)
Against a background of a billion bright dust-motes
a scrap of ice and stone,
heated to incandescence,
inscribe its path on the sky.
Blink and it’s gone, but another,
and another,
follows. Lower down,
four planets have lined up to point out
where the sun will later rise.

V (0640 to 0700)
Light comes before colour:
a white sky seen through a picket-fence of black tree trunks.
Then, a confusion of hues; yellows, greens,
and last night’s apricot now fully ripened.
Then the day washes downwards from the sky,
and the tree trunks are silver against blue.


Some explanation of IV: I got up at about 0530 this morning to look at the eta aquariid meteor shower. After trundling up the driveway and out the gate, and down the road a little and not seeing anything (other than the four planets currently in alignment) I decided “sod this, it’s too cold”. As I turned to go back up the hill I finally saw a meteor, so I lay down on the road for a bit and saw six in quick succession.  

And this is what I’ve started to think of a pansy coloured sky:


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a glass of sweet autumn gloaming

For the dVerse Monday prompt “In praise of the grape“, a quadrille using the word wine:


The autumn-sweet air is eucalypt clean,
light, yellow as late-harvest wine, gilds the trees,
insect hum deepens the stillness,
stirred by currawong’s mournful goodnight.

The trees blush rose,
then dissolve
into the darkness rising from valley
to meet an apricot sky,
ripening to indigo.




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Brittlegums III

Once again their silvered skins
have dropped in disorderly curls,
like shed gowns, pooling at their feet.


It’s the last day of summer, and the brittle gums are well into shedding their bark. First they go from silver to dark grey, then the old bark peels off exposing the new white bark underneath. It’s hardly a spectacular autumn change, but it’s a marker of the changing seasons still.      


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smoke haze

the chainsaw roars,chain_saw
drowning out the cicadas

first a wedge to direct the fall,
then slowly, a long slice, until
and the tree tilts, then tumbles Continue reading


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requiem for a brittlegum

Sweat drips down my face,
my back,
between my breasts.
Sawdust collects in my boots,
soft and grainy
between my toes. Continue reading

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hobnails and dressing-gowns

Halfway up the sitting-tree
I perch among the flitting bats,
a milky river of stars above.

Leaning back
with one leg swinging,
my boot a hefty pendulum-bob,
I wonder;
If I fell out of the tree
– without noticing –
might I miss the ground?

I am, after all,
like Arthur Dent,
in my dressing gown.



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brittlegum blushes (Autumn colour)

Without a fuss,20200527_095008
the slender young gums
have shed their skins,
to stand smooth and pale.
Among them,
wide hipped
and thick waisted,
their mothers blush
before exposing their own
pale flesh to the chill air.

It’s the first day of winter, but it was a late and warm autumn. There are no native deciduous trees on mainland Australia, so no golden gown or autumn glory outside of the towns and cities. But some of the eucalypts, like the brittle gum shown, drop their bark. On the older trees it changes colour first, from silver to pinks and dark greys – our local autumn colour. 

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Brittle gums II

the stringy-barks
acknowledge no seasons.
But the brittle gums
have sensed summer’s end.
Their silver bark has darkened
and fallen away in curls,
leaving them naked,
smooth and white,
amongst their
rough and dark,
but stalwart,

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Brittle gums I

Darkness flows up
from the gullies
and creek beds,
climbing the ridge,
ending the day.
The brittle gums glow,
like golden pillars,
reflecting the sky
in brief defiance
of the rising night.

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a new tree

This is my latest painting project – it’s meant to be a brittle gum, which there are lots of in this area.  The trunk and branches were freehand, and I traced the leaves from ones I picked from trees outside. It didn’t quite come out how I wanted it, but I don’t mind much. The plan is for a wedge-tailed eagle next, circling up high. There are a lot of them around here, and I don’t think I will ever stop finding them extraordinary to watch.    WIN_20200327_17_43_39_Pro


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