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Markings 76

Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize 2017

Highly Commended

Transgression of the Trees

after a now lost avenue of Southern blue gums for roadworks

(Eucalyptus leucoxylon) all many hundreds of years old

In places

the road through the valley

is complicated

by blue gum blossom.

There is no forest in its falling


it clogs the bitumen

with all its best intensity

car tyres rebuff all day

without emotion.

I wish there was something better

going on.

All week men

slashed in the bright luminosity

of their execution

removed perhaps a hundred trees

along the verge:

starred with yellow crosses

an earlier ignoble selection

by someone else

just doing their job.

Not out of place

but in serious trespass

of local council plans.

Driving home

though an inversion in the weather

humid air is choked from the saws

with golden dust.

An eerie quiet now

only the car engine attempts

a poor imitation of their former

shriek through mute

and stubborn wood

and what this is really all about.

In the near distance

moving in and out of concentration

a strange sad scatter of the birds

wheeling above

the cleared and empty puzzle

of their nests.

Jeff Guess

©Jeff Guess 2017

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