Plagal Cadence

Plagal cadence
Sings the great Amen
Four strong branches
Resolved to one.

In the final of the tree jazz series, I spent some time in the shadows of this great River Red Gum (Eucaplytus Camaldulensis) and listened for it's grand 'Amen'. To give you an idea of the size of this tree, the base measures just over 9 metres with a single trunk 2.5mt or more around the girth. This tree draws it's strength from the nearby ephemeral dry river bed, Todd River (Local name in Arrernte: Lhere Mparntwe). It diverts the footpath, curves the road and currently blocks this part of the highway being moved to two lanes. As I move around the tree, measuring the trunks, feeling the smooth trunk and spikey defence on the skin and getting bitten by ants, I feel the vast root structure beneath my feet.

These trees are responsible for the smell of Australia (Williams, 2018). When it rains here, the smell is incredible. I keep a bottle of the essential oil, extracted from the leaves, at my workplace desk. It is overpowering in this form (and a strong antiseptic) but a small blot, smeared on photocopier paper, brings the outside in.

Tree Cadences Series:

Hulme, K. (2008) Eucalyptus cmaldulensis (river red gum) Biogeochemistry: An Innovative Tool for Mineral Exploration in the Curnamona Province and Adjacent Regions.School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The University of Adelaide. Retrieved from

Williams, T. (2018) Eucalyptus: Five thing you might not know about these flowering giants. CSIROscope. retrieved 5 October 2021 from


  1. I've been following your poems and music, with deep appreciation for your skills in observation and writing


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