poem: Frangipani


I love the Frangipanis. Here in Gove

They’re ev’rywhere. So big and old and gnarled

And knotted, some the size of flow’ring gums;

Completely white with perfumed flowers – the scent

Just fills the air, the dark green shining leaves

In counterpoint serene. I have one at

My door to usher in the weary, end

Of day. Red dirt and dust in fine contrast,

For Nhulunbuy’s a mining town; we dig

The red stuff up, alumina is what

We’re after, flog it to Japan. The mine

And its ‘satanic mill’ are ugly scars,

The town is plagued by big and noisy cars

And trucks. And so the great old trees are worth

So much the more – they speak of beauty, they

Offset the ugliness we bring in search

Of profit, stuff and money. God, they call

The creaking, vast refinery “the plant” !!

It’s soon to close; one wonders what the blacks

Will think of all this white man’s drama. Great

And lovely frangipanis will remain

When other plant falls silent, shut for good.


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