for Pinus radiata tree in Haig Park, Canberra

we meet in the cello’s tremor
in the cleansing smoke
the murmur of pines
the whish and swish of Northbourne

here where the west wind
lifts the pollen into a yellow cloud
where cockatoos gnaw on seeds
where weebills flutter

come stroke my scaly bark
lean against me like the lovers
the tired and the sad
like the riders catching their breath

are you a custodian of this land?
are you a picnicker, cricketer, runner,
shopper, dog walker, luncher,
rough sleeper,
hide n seeker?
did you come with an axe for a branch
to decorate at Christmas?
did you dance around me like leaves
in the wind?

when I am felled you will find me
amongst – Nala – the many trees

when I am not trunk and branch and leaf
seeds, roots, web of connection beneath
when I am not a giant, a holder of great nests

when I am felled, I will stay here
with the curling possums
the rush of city people going home
lolling holidayers, book readers
mowers, tree workers, the cawing ravens
I will stay with the markets, and all the greetings

when I am felled dry me out and shape me
I may be a sign post, a dog jump, a bench

my wood is strong and ready
we will meet, we will meet

© Sarah St Vincent Welch, 2021