Gimlet

Glen Phillips

 

When I first heard your name

uttered by farmers and clearers

chopping out tracts

of our grandfather’s Western Woodlands

 

I could not fathom

origins of your contorted title

for I thought more of penetrating

steel tools, drilling

 

in the grasp of carpenters.

But then was shown among

blackbutts and casuarinas

your manic twisting green trunks.

 

What tortures twirled these mallees?

Was it suffering salinity

or surviving inland biospheres

here in these arid parts?

 

Perhaps, in youth, you gimlets blindly

followed progress of the blazing sun

circling the sky each day from the east,

your craning necks winding your trunks?

 

Otherwise, like the rest of the trees

you would grow straight and tall

only branching out to provide roots

with a private patch of shade.

 

Gimlet, we stand respectfully to salute

you as a worshipful dervish

of such semi-desert lands,

whirling with this spinning earth!

 

June, 2018

Eucalyptus Salubris (Gimlet) © Glen Phillips 2020. All rights reserved.

Note: Eucalyptus Salubris, also ‘fluted gum’ is a smaller gumtree prevalent in inland semi-arid areas of Western Australia and its common name relates to the resemblance of the twisted trunk to a carpenter’s gimlet, a tool for drilling holes in wood.

 

 

Glen Phillips is a poet and professor, born in Southern Cross, Western Australia. He has taught all his working life and is internationally published with some 60 books or chapbooks, numerous articles, short stories and poetry. Glen is Director of Edith Cowan University’s International Centre for Landscape and Language in Perth. He has 50 published poetry collections, many including his own paintings, drawings and photographs.

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