Islands & Forests: A Poem

Louisa Miranda is a poet from northern NSW. She believes believes poetry to be the fast food of literature, because she generally produces a poem in the time it takes to order and eat something not worth eating, and because most of her poems can at least be read (if not digested) in a few minutes, and then relished, regretted or forgotten. She wrote us a poem. Here ’tis…

When coconuts abound
I miss the scent of gums
the dry crackle underfoot
and that particular silhouette;
leafy dangle
laconic descent
down to scrub
(accompanied by a cacophony of bird)
but under this it is the birch oak ash of ancestors I miss
forest not bush
the epigenetic inheritance of everything I don’t remember
and can no longer claim
having been orphaned over eons over oceans
to wake one day with whatever it was that meant anything
replaced by the eucalypts of now
and by a longing to make a home of unhome
and all this anyway
on the here then there now continuum of time space place
to be later usurped by the coconuts of lovers and children
(who could not love a coconut?)
where I found a banyan for a brother
(who could not love a banyan?)
and where I learned that jacarandas, frangipanis and framboyans
come from somewhere other than my childhood
and belong nowhere and everywhere as much as youme
and if my heart is girt by seven seas
then all the twenty seven islands of my identity
are still home for what I once was (for sìle, for morwenna, for fiona)
and who we might still be
on this
the long walk of forgetting
we pass under and amongst the tall cousins
or we see them on TV and having lost all their names
we hold tight to the ones we still know
that belong now to a meta language of man;
the frangipani, the banana, the palm, the fig, the fern, the gum, the coco,
ignorant of borders and transcendent of tongue
and we plant them (again)
in the islands and forests
of hybrid hearts
grafted for growth in foreign lands
escaping soil
to survive our own disaster
and after (again)
shoot new.