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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 3, September 2012

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Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Capital Territory, Australia


Roots

It’s a grey day, drizzling rain. I’m excavating the stump of the old apple tree. I’ve been working at it for some time, chipping away with crowbar and axe, watering the hard ground. The denouement is surprisingly easy . . . chop, chop through five lateral roots and I can lever the stump aside. Beneath it, just bedrock, calcareous mudstone, the Silurian sea floor. No wonder the tree struggled in life, and the apples were riddled with codlin moth.

scribbly gum
growing out of solid granite
for two hundred years
pushing our roots down
into a hard land


Author’s Note: The tanka “scribbly gum” was first published in “From Lime Trees to Eucalypts: a Botany of Tanka,” Special Feature, Atlas Poetica website, 2011.

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