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That slim creek out of the sky the dried-blood western gum tree is all stir in its high reaches:

its strung haze-blue foliage is dancing points down in breezy mobs, swapping pace and place in an all-over sway

retarded en masse by crimson blossom. Bees still at work up there tack around their exploded furry likeness

and the lawn underneath's a napped rug of eyelash drift, of blooms flared like a sneeze in a redhaired nostril,

minute urns, pinch-sized rockets knocked down by winds, by night-creaking fig-squirting bats, or the daily

parrot gang with green pocketknife wings. Bristling food tough delicate raucous life, each flower comes

as a spray in its own turned vase, a taut starbust, honeyed model of the tree's fragrance crisping in your head.

When the japanese plum tree was shedding in spring, we speculated there among the drizzling petals

what kind of exquisitely precious artistic bloom might be gendered in a pure ethereal compost

of petals potted as they fell. From unpetalled gun-debris we know what is grown continually,

a tower of fabulous swish tatters, a map hoisted upright, a crusted riverbed with up-country show towns.

by Les Murray

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