Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Treasures

Today I'm joining Melody at The House on the Side of The Hill for Tuesday Treasures.
The Singing Trees
My Treasure for this week is the line of wonderful Casuarinas which are on our western boundary. These trees were planted by the lady who lives next door about 13 years ago and are quite large now. These interesting trees have branchlets instead of leaves and racemes of golden-copper coloured flowers on the tips of all the branchlets. When the long flowers drop they stick to anything they touch and hang in plants underneath and near the trees making my lemon trees look like they have caterpillars all over them.
The main reason that I love these trees is - can you guess? .....
...... It is the beautiful song they sing as the wind tosses their massed branchlets
I first heard them at Hillview, a property in NSW that my uncle managed. There was a stand of them on a hill where I would go and sit, waiting for the wind to blow.
As the warm breeze picked up in strength this haunting, soulful song would see me sitting for lengthy periods, eyes closed almost meditative, reluctant to move or go back to the house.
Later on I found some seeds under trees which I was stunned to find growing near to where we lived, far from the outback property.
The following poem was written as a result of that serendipitous discovery

Beautiful floppy, droopy casuarinas
Casuarina flowers
The Singing Trees
Growing slowly on my lawn, are three precious trees
One day when out walking I collected their seeds.
A stand of trees I didn't know were growing near the creek
Till one day I noticed them, in utter disbelief.
Many years ago, up Balranald way
My uncle managed land, where we would go and stay.
It was a joy to visit there, and listen to the quiet
To rest from the noise, and curse of city life.

The house was surrounded, by red, sandy dust
Most would hope for still days and hated windy gusts.
There was one place I welcomed the wind as it blew
The hill where my special trees waited for their cue.

As I walked there I hoped, the wind was strong enough
To toss and throw the branches and whip them into song.
The noise I can't describe, some would say the howled
But to me it was the music, of a singing crowd.

I sat and closed my eyes, as they caressed my ears 
With the soulful song they had practiced for years.
I remember so well, that very last time
When I listened to their music, their singing sublime.

No more were we to travel there, and visit this place
This solitude, this outback, this vast red, blue space.
The sky too blue to be possible and earth as red as rust
Yet trees still sing and live for years, growing through its crust
My little trees can't sing yet, they're still much too small
But how pretty they look there, growing in my lawn.
Like dear little Christmas trees, in the morning light
With webs strung out with dewdrops, from the last cold night.

We'll just have to stay, till their branches are long
And the wind can coax them, to sing their first song.
The space isn't blue and red, but the song will be the same
To take me back in time and space, to where it all began
Bronwyn Barton
(Allocasuarina verticillata)
We did stay long enough to see those little trees grow big enough to sing. I remember it too. I sat beside those 2 metre high trees and closed my eyes once again as I did that last time at Hillview. 
This time though, I was serenaded by their very first song.
Now I can hear them as I hang out the washing or tend to the chookies thanks to Cheryl next door - Lucky me!


  1. Well that has made me feel so much better. Your poems are just so beautiful Bronwyn. I was right there with you at Hillview. I hope all your poems are recorded in a lovely book.

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