Earth Day. A Celebration – Saving the Jacaranda

To celebrate Earth Day I choose to reprint a poem  I love from my  first poetry collection,  A Call to Listen.   It is  a true story of a group of workers in our local council.  A model to save trees wherever you can for the life they support, for the beauty they give, for the fresh air they make, and for their healing presence in our lives.

Thank you Mary Reynolds Thompson for your inspiring email  . . . a reminder for me to act today.

It was on an autumn walk I learnt the old Jacaranda tree that I loved was under threat. It was in the way of new pipes. The pipes about 2 metres in diameter were being dug in and the gorgeous old Jacaranda was in the pathway. The next day there was an arborist directing the men down amongst the roots gently digging out the soil. The pipe was placed in underneath the roots. Then in November, 6 months on there it was, in full glory . . thanks to those who had worked to save it.


saving the jacaranda

the line for the new concrete
drainage pipe
runs under the massive old jacaranda

meticulous to protect its roots
day after day the council men
ratty and mole in fluorescent yellow
dig a man-made warren
wide and deep

exposed roots
stretch and coil like dark bearded monsters
from a tenebrous underworld
smelling earthy airless damp

then overseen by an arborist
a crane lowers the pipe into place
and this private world is reclaimed

a year on
standing before its gnarled trunk
on a lilac path
i am corralled in its aura
of blossom-laden branches
and i rejoice with the breeze
in whispered mantras

And thank you to my daughter Elizabeth  Keating-Jones sending me Neil Gaiman’s poem in honour of  the Scientist and researcher, Rachel Carson (1907- 1964 )  who is the inspiration for Earth Day after  the new enlightment the world was given with her book Silent Spring  (1962)