few birds sing

24th & 25th March: While based at Arthur River, we spent one and a half days within our first burnt forest
Pinstripe suit with buttonhole

Father of the bride in pinstripe suit and buttonhole – photo: Dan Haley

This and the header photo by Dan Hayley

few birds sing or dart through absent undergrowth and brittle canopies;
no quolls lope, nor devils lurk;
but ferns unfurl green spiral scrolls crowning wiry charcoaled skirts;
and stately gums all clad in black, like father of the bride,
adorn their chests with buttonholes of verdant life…
in solemn celebration: a joyous rite of passage

I learned two things while writing this poem. Dan taught me the term “epicormic shoots”  – those shoots that sprout from the side of trunks in forest regeneration. Epicormic buds normally lie dormant, deep beneath the bark of trunk and branches of many Eucalypts and several other Australian trees, their growth suppressed by hormones from active shoots higher up the plant. Thick bark insulates these buds and vascular cambium from the intense heat of fires. However, when damage occurs to treetops through ferocious winds or fire, and when light levels are increased through loss of foliage and surrounding plants, these buds are activated, and new shoots spring forth from thick old trunks. Tree species without this brilliant epicormic design die in fires. All pretty obvious… but the geek in me loves learning a new term.  epi (upon) + kormos (tree trunk) [Greek geeks]
The other terminology I learned was that “corsage” refers to a woman’s floral decoration pinned to her dress or tied to her wrist, whereas the floral and leafy decoration worn by men on their lapel is called a “buttonhole.” I had initially written corsage in this poem. I stand corrected by Wiki and bridal florists!

rain! a brief shower…
frogs shout joyously, then stop
the scream of chainsaw

myrtles, wattles, ti-trees, gums
a contorted heap of smoking limbs
bulldozed by the roadside

dead leaves on scorched earth
thin green blades of cutting grass
burst from stubbled mounds

after rain
still smoking
the road to nowhere

At this location, Em and I wore white as Dan Haley took video and stills within this blackened landscape. A surreal and unexpected story line began to unfold… can’t wait to see what Dan creates from it. Here are a few stills by Dan. The pixilated ones are video captures I have pulled out of some of his footage (thanks Dan).
photos by Dan Hayley


The next chapter in my Tarkine Adventure: -–> . Pompoms
Sculpture Park ..<–-  The previous chapter

About anne norman

musician, shakuhachi player, author, poet, tea lover...
This entry was posted in Environmental essays and poems, haiku, my meanderings, Tarkine in Motion 2016 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to few birds sing

  1. Pingback: pompoms | peripatetic musings

  2. Pingback: Sculpture Park | peripatetic musings

  3. Pingback: The Road to Nowhere | peripatetic musings

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