Venie Environmental Poetry Prize

Transgression of the Trees by Jeff Guess

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
here-
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.

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