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Lullaby #5

by Vahni Capildeo

For a never-to-be-finished farewell


In memory   in false memory

The rain tree stood   the saman

Canopied us   the vast dome

Had not been cut down

O why

was it cut down?

Black gateway

Tearing the drive with amber

Dropping pods akin to figs

Dried and gummy

It ploughed up

the concrete into furrows,

a rough sea greyed to a halt;

We stood

would not have stopped there;

In true fact

would’ve tapped into,

hooked, root-shaken foundations,

Small leaves up above

Small-twigged memory spread

Over us

caused ruin;

What kept us back

Hooked and shaken


to drop a branch,

hit a child

As we were

hit the roof

Only going to say


hit the T.V. aerial

BANG!   e   x   p   l   o   s   i   o   n



why was it cut down?



You want

Loan words

the house to fall down?


There was another reason.


Tree   wake and sleep

Tell me why

Live and die   with me

it was cut down?

Tree    wake and live

Strangers would park up

Sleep and die   with me

to have sex

by our gate;

the tree had to go,

it hid them.


O –


Tree   live and sleep

Die and wake   with me

Lullaby #6

Published: October 2020
Vahni Capildeo

is Writer in Residence at the University of York, where their research focus is on silence. Recent work includes Skin Can Hold (Carcanet, 2019), Odyssey Calling (Sad Press, 2020) and Light Site (Periplum Poetry, 2020), reflecting Capildeo’s interest in place, plurilingualism, and immersive or participatory performance, such as Trinidad’s traditional masquerade.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.