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Poem: Burnt

Books & Poetry

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright said the best friends of mankind are trees. In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Casey Tonkin of Adelaide reflects on their fate.

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Red gums felled for the purpose of property.
This remaining stump now protected by rope
is signed to share the significance of building
with fire. Creation and destruction –
the same body with two faces.

Brachychiton discolour, white kurrajong stands
in the boundary with its dying mate.
A thick trunk textured with lace,
spotted with pareidolic eyes
where it shed the past.

Watch its wide green hands
drop pods of thick pink velvet
from moderate heights. They land
like hail as though longing to return
to the warm rich soil of birth.

Craving comfort. Afraid
of having reached too high.
Destined only for a mighty fall
by fire, or axe, or the slow gentle
decay from within.

Casey Tonkin writes poetry and short stories, and has the drafts of three novels gathering dust in a desk drawer somewhere. He is a journalist and radio host with community station Radio Adelaide, call sign 5UV. He says he’s still getting used to early mornings, but does also have a blog at

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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