David’s Tree

Poppys Cafe

On the final approach to Boonah on the Ipswich Road there’s a sweeping bend, taking drivers to the crest of a hill to reveal the farmland and mountain views which give the scenic rim its name.

David’s tree

At the apex of the bend, elevated on the cutting’s bank, is a solitary tree. It’s gnarled, double trunk suggests it started life as two trees, or perhaps has survived a trauma.

As cars sail around the bend, occupants craning to take in the valley views, the tree looms in the foreground, forcing their attention.

And nailed to the aged, double trunk is a small white plaque with the words “David’s tree”. Which makes me wonder: who’s David? And why does he claim this tree?


I passed the tree today on a flying visit to the farm. I’d left my laptop there last week and with a few half-written stories saved to its hard drive I had to retrieve it. Now. While the fingers are flying and January motivation fills my sails.

I stopped at the farm just long enough to grab the computer and pick a few remaining lemons, disturbing our wallabies in the process. I also fed the worms, taking Les Murray to the chamber for company (I’ve read the dusty tractor magazine cover-to-cover on past visits).

Les Murray inspires me. He’s brilliant, of course, and a risk-taker. He makes readers work to decipher his images. His poetry isn’t always easy, but it’s profoundly rewarding when, sometimes after the third read, a stanza comes to life.

Here’s a taste, chosen for its metaphor magic:

Disked-up ground in unseasonable heat
burns purple, and the tracks of a foam-white
longed-for watersnake are brown down every incline.
Season of smoke and parrots pecking the road,

And he also plays games and makes rules to keep his writing flowing. In 1986 he challenged himself to write a poem a month to chronicle the changing seasons at his home. The result, Cycle of a Year at Bunyah, New South Wales, April 1986-April 1987, is the source of today’s quote.

I hope Les would approve of these daily notes. I’m certain he would approve of my doodling in a Boonah cafe over a piece of their delicious Change Your Life Bread.

For the record

Had a late night yesterday following a frantic call from The Athlete. A scandinavian stop-over didn’t run as smoothly as planned. But she sorted it out and made it to her Stockholm hotel. “It was properly dark at 4pm and that’s really freaking me out but I’m in the room now so I’m fine,” she texted.

I’ve commissioned a mechanic to fix the air conditioning. He’s ordering the parts. In the interim we continue to melt. I may have to resort to a swim.

The pantry moths and I are now on a first-name basis.




Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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