Shine

If Jesus had been strolling around
southern Australia today,
rather than Palestine in the first-century,
he’d have dropped his fig-tree metaphor
and gone with the Jacaranda.
“Look at the Jacaranda,” he’d say.
“When it puts forth its purple-Advent flowers,
to compete luminescently
with the sky and to carpet the earth below
in a circle of blue;
can summer be far behind?
No; nor God’s kingdom.”

Hail to you, wondrous tree of purple;
botanical immigrant,
transplanted two hundred years ago
from another new world.
Your dazzling hue has ensured your welcome.
Like the land’s many human inhabitants
you regard yourself as a true-born native,
among the greens, reds and yellows
of indigenous eucalypts and wattles.

Hail, Jacaranda!
The arboretum’s John the Prophet,
landscape herald of one who is coming
and of the remarkable kingdom
of hope and justice.
(For which, we still yearn.)
For a month you shine, harbinger
of the extraordinary,
until your flowers fall and fade,
your leaves of green resume their rightful place,
and we are returned to our ordinary lives.
There our achings are embraced,
tasks and challenges are taken up,
and we get on with it.

© Ken Rookes 2015

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