Bush Therapy

Hazel Hall
Since a truck cut across my safety, 
I have lived in divans and beds.
That rock-hard pallet augmented
with the chill of cotton blankets;
my bunk at home, back raised
using an upturned chair.
A friends’ recliner where I settled 
in its softness like a nest;
the armchair padded with pillows 
with a stool to rest my feet.
None has eased discomfort.
I have been cloistered for too long 
missing the company of friends 
and the Bush to sing her songs;
step by step, trudge up the hill
until I reach the summit.

There is my other chair 
wedged between three eucalypts
for heavy-laden hikers
by a carpenter who understood
that trees came into being 
long before us. I do not need
the comfort of armchairs and cushions.
Lingering here is the blessed scent 
of petrichor, filling famished lungs.
Rooting my feet in the earth,
back against hard bark I become 
one with this vibrant soundscape, 
listening to bustling birds 
calling through a symphony of leaves 
and my pain flies off screeching 
with a mob of cockatoos.

Contextual Essay: After a motor vehicle accident I missed daily walks in the bush and connection with natural life. Many weeks passed before I was able to reach the summit of our hill, where a thoughtful person has built a bench between three gum trees. It’s still a struggle but sitting there in the natural surroundings is bush therapy at its best.

Hazel Hall is a widely published Canberra poet and musicologist. Her recent collections include Step By Step: Tai Chi Meditations (Picaro Poets 2018), Moonlight over the Siding (Interactive Press 2019), Severed Web (Picaro Poets 2020) and a verse play for radio Please Add Your Signature and Date it Here (Litoria Press 2021). Hazel’s collection A Hint of Rosemary is forthcoming. She has been invited to judge several international competitions. From 2018-2022 Hazel coordinated Poetry at Manning Clark House in Canberra, ACT.



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