Southern Beech Forest by Mark O’Connor

Forests of cascading moss —
trees webbed with a green bewitchment not of their making.

It’s the woods you imagined for Sleeping Beauty — lichen pours from the boughs
like a green arrested waterfall.

Here it seems to have always lately rained, the drops still swimming on the leaf, boles beaded with droplets, like a water jug.

Below, are the half-aquatic ferns
that thrive on a twilit glow at midday; the fronds shine like gills
perpetually glibbed with water.

The forest has two weathers, rain and drip-dry.
It ingests sunlight and rain in half-hour doses, mixing them with odd exudates of planet-skin to build this loam, this roof. Such thickets Earth draws round her like a shawl
to keep out heat and chill, remnants of
old Gondwanaland beech forests
that carry with them still
the breath of paradise, since
now it seems agreed that Eden must
have been rainforest.


From Australian Poetry Library, 2017-05-19

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