The Forest Hit by Modern Use

Les Murray


The forest, hit by modern use,

Stands graced with damage

Angled Plaques

Tilt everywhere, with graphic needle crowns

And trinket saps fixed round their year;

Vines spider web, flowering, over smashed

Intricacies; long rides appear


Dense growths that were always underbrush

Expand in the light, beside bulldozers’

Imprinted machine-gun belts of spoor.


Now the sun’s in, through breaks and jags,

Culled slopes are jammed with replacement; green

And whip stick saplings, every one out

To shade the rest to death.

Scabbed chain

Feeds leaf-mould its taut rain-cold solution;

Bared creeks wash gold; kingfishers hover.


There is still great height: all through the hills

Spared hierarchs toughen to the wind

Around the punk hearts that got them spared

And scatter seed down the logging roads.


Grease-fungi, scrolls, clenched pipes of bark:

The forest will now be kept like this

For a long time. There are rooms in it

And, paradox for mystery, birds

Too tiny, now that we see them, for

Their amplitude and carrying flash of song.


On a stump, a sea eagle eats by lengths

Their enemy, a coil-whipping dry land fish

And voids white size to make room for it. 


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