by Allan Lake

Dead tree dominates front ‘garden’
of my daughter’s old house but neither 
she nor my grandkids seem bothered
by that or riotous, fecund weeds.
Always early, I sit on rotting fence  
and consider trippy direct action. 
Not yet dead myself, I could secretly 
remove lifeless birch when they’re out. 
Energised by my own daring, I could 
purchase and plant a living replacement.

But house is a rental with many things 
that need fixing, that never will be ‘til 
owner decides to sell and pocket profit
in a city where real estate prices 
have become depressingly unreal. 
Should one improve the place when 
that might trigger rent increase, daughter
indignation? Much less work and safer 
to simply imagine family arriving home, 
spotting my installation – awe, delight, giggles –   
amazed to witness leafy life after death.

Fantasy may beat reality, in this instance;
did prompt momentary joy and is now cat-
alogued somewhere for future retrospective.
Heaven only knows, daughter might miss 
her on-theme ‘found’ sculpture or, worse, 
not even notice a seeming enviro-miracle. 

As with many poems, my dead tree starting point exists. The arising question is “What is Art?” Second question is whether to bother going to all the trouble of making the stuff. Implied 3rd question touches on mental health and acts of creation. The existence of the poem itself answers these for me. 

Originally from Saskatchewan, Allan Lake has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton I., Ibiza, Tasmania, Perth & Melbourne. Poetry Collection: Sand in the Sole (Xlibris, 2014). Lake won Lost Tower Publications(UK) Comp 2017 & Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Fest/The Dan 2018 & publication in New Philosopher 2020. Chapbook (Ginninderra Press 2020) My Photos of Sicily.

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