I knew an old man - a hunched eucalypt,
back bent away from grass-tearing storms
that my mother hid from in her youth.
He was private, would not speak of the past
sunk into wrinkled bark and knotted knees,
the arthritis of ages holding him still.
Nor did he raise voice, his benevolent limbs
were shelter from the crack of an open palm
and the cacophony of a kitchen in ruins.
He was the quiet times, the calm hours,
the sun-watched sleep when dusk was just an idea
and the air carried no bite nor chill.
I grew, forgetful, until a rambling sunday reacquainted us
and I remembered him - the kindly old eucalypt,
back bent to break the winds that threatened
the peace of a small child.