From Garden to Forest


Searching for a herb named solace;
they say it grows in hard ground;
I am sure it used to grow here,
It goes with nearly everything.
Perhaps it is nowhere to be found.
Better than heart’s ease, growing
among honesty and patience.


(In memory of naturalist Gerald Durrell,
who wrote The Drunken Forest in 1956)

The Australian forest wakens;
crapulous, hungover;
the koala sleeps it off
in a nook of his tree, 
stuffed with gum leaves 
and dozy on their oil;
kangaroos blink in the light,
possums and gliders hide
indoors after a hard night;
frogmouths and nightjars 
look like drunks,
hunched together, bleary-eyed 
in bars;
as dry-mouthed as the soil;
but galahs fly by, pink and white
and gray, turbulent in flight,
screeching out: Wake up,
you blokes, it’s another
blessed day.

About the contributor

Julian O'Dea is a retired government scientist, who began writing poetry a few years ago. He has had poems, including haiku, published in various online and print locations. These have included Ygdrasil, Creatrix, Friday's Poems and The Australia Times. As a government officer he worked in a number of technical and policy fields, including fisheries management, animal welfare policy, science policy and regulatory toxicology. He was a Visiting Fellow in Archaeology for several years, at the Australian National University.

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