Friday, 27 September 2013

Woman and Boab

27 September 2013

Another poem from the ‘Planting the Seed’ writing sessions held in the Darwin botanic gardens, with thanks to Helen Hansen. Helen was one of four writers who were artists in residence for the Northern Territory Wildlife Park in 2013.

Read more of her poems in ‘Wild Words’ — an anthology produced as a result of the wildlife park residency.

Woman and Boab

What happens when a woman walks up a Boab,
touches it with the palm of her hand,
turns her head
and presses her ear to its grotesque trunk?
What happens when she stands back just a little
to look above;
seeing a sporadic splatter of compound leaves
dotting strange spastic limbs?

With no sign of flower or fruit yet
her shadow shades a measure of its mighty shaft
as inspiration rises like the sun behind them both.
What happens to her?
Does she feel something welling inside,
that gives truth to this moment?
Does she write poetic words
that no-one else has said or thought?

Does she think of its Latin name:
Adansonia gregor -
or wonder for whom it’s so-called?
Does she wonder its age?
That the sap mixed with water quenches the thirst,
that its fibrous wood makes good twine and nets?
Does she ponder the upside-down legend?
Does she ponder a prison?

Helen Hansen©2013


  1. I like to think Boab is named after Bob, just because Bob is someone I'd sometimes rather be.

    Nice poem. :-)

  2. Boab is a botanical wonder!
    It engaged me and I read the poem five times!
    The poem reminds me Emile Dickinson's famous line, "it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me."
    Jaydeep Sarangi