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Books & Poetry

Poems: Bunya & Monkey Puzzle

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Rob Walker of Adelaide experiences two of Gondwana’s ancient conifers from two of its ancient parts: Australia and South America.

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I. Bunya

Araucaria bidwillii

When your nuts came down
original Aussies had a real wingding.
A feast-led roadmap to peace.

Fruit bigger than a human head,
signs in public parks
warn the unwary.

Eons earlier flourishing
in your Mesozoic prime
dinosaurs munched

on your prickly parabola
of lime-green leather.

Inside the withered paraboloid
a spiralled wooden ladder,

rungs for even the clumsiest
child to reach for the stars.

II. Monkey Puzzle

Araucaria araucana

The Galapagos tortoise leg trunk
filled an entire front yard
a Thebarton worker’s cottage
lived in perpetual umbrage

the foliage was artificial xmas tree
eleven-months-compressed in storage

in tertiary days a little girl ran across the road
just after the bend and my Vespa brushed so close
a school-case knocked from her hand

the puzzle:
why was I spared killing an innocent girl
by microseconds
or the thickness of a leaf
sharp as a shark’s tooth

spared from opening
a can of spiky worms?

Rob Walker completed a poetry residency at the Adelaide City Library in November. He has taught performing arts at primary school level in Adelaide, and English at high school and adult levels in Japan. He has appeared widely in both print and online poetry outlets in the UK, US and Australia, and is the joint winner of the 2007 and 2009 Newcastle Poetry Prizes, and this year’s Friendly Street Satura Prize. He has published four collections of his poetry, the latest being Tropeland, from which today’s poems come.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.



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