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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Thoughts on Leaving

Brisbane from the botanic gardens at Mt Coot-tha
The Brisbane skyline from the delightful botanic gardens at Mt Coot-tha

I'll miss Australia. Yet again it's proved to be a fascinating and friendly place, full of surprises, beauty, beer and, of course, the biggest and best of everything in the world1.

Tree same thing. E watching you.
You look tree you say... 'Oh'
That tree e listen to you, what you!
E got no finger, e can't speak
But that leaf, e pumping his.
Way e grow in the night while you sleeping...
You dream something, that tree and grass same thing...
E grow with your body, your feeling...
When you feeling tree, e work with you tree.
You cut im little bit, you got water coming out.
That's his blood, same as your blood. So e alive...
Well that tree same as you. If you feel sore...
'Oh, I'm my body sore!'
Well that means somebody killing tree
Because your body on that tree or earth.

I love this poem. It probably sounds better if you know what the Aboriginal accent sounds like – it sure isn't the same as straight Australian – but the imagery is simple and powerful, whatever the accent.

1 To tell the truth, I rather enjoy the Australian obsession with size: out here it's all about the biggest, the smallest, the furthest, the best. Aussie law doesn't prevent advertisers from saying things like 'the best pizza in Australia' or 'the funniest show on earth' – I swear I've never seen so many places claiming to be the 'best eating place in the world', and this in a country where a test on doner kebabs showed that one in four are likely to make you ill. Still, the hospitals are probably the best in the world, so I guess it all fits together...