The Eucalypt Trees

The Eucalypt Trees

Today the wind rises
and whispers in the trees
of bushfire.

Trees cower in the wind
bending as if davening
in prayer.

For the memory
of fire is a blessing
and regeneration.


Julian O’Dea


Ten darker haiku


vodka hangover
lost on
the tundra

filling in
the form

the life
he might have led

the silver trees
the hospital window

school reunion
he complains
about his wife

the youngest person
in the
rehabilitation ward

taking my young wife
to identify
the body

she said no

the woman
always early
at the bottle shop

the people
at my age


Julian O’Dea

On a Painting by Bosch

On a Painting by Bosch

Félicien Rops and Norman Lindsay
put naked women on the Cross;
Norman from Antipodean whimsy,
Félicien with European blasphemy
to mock the tempted Anthony

… but Hieronymus Bosch showed
Saint Julia on her cross clothed
and set a golden tiara on her head,
as the crown of martyrdom;
and pictured Saint Anthony
by her side, as her master had
Saint John.


Julian O’Dea

Fluid Forms

Long before the porpoise
and the manta ray
appeared, the turquoise
waves that cavorted
in the first dawns
in primaeval seas
teased and foreshadowed
their fluid forms.


Julian O’Dea

Paint your Lips

Paint your lips sweet
so that I can kiss a flower
and visit like a honey bee
hour on lingering hour.

Be always there,
smooth blossom tree,
so that all my labours
can be sweet for me.


Julian O’Dea

The Cow

The cow nuzzles at the hay
on the dirt floor a while
and then puts her muzzle
near the unfamiliar thing

and smells the milk-fed
human young.

The man grips a staff
but the beast turns gently away
and pulls at more hay
in the new Ark
on Christmas day.


Julian O’Dea


If you look faraway you can
see the plains of heaven
past the fields and houses
beyond your line of sight
at the very end

through roads and lanes
and winding streams
and narrow canals
beyond habitation
at the edge of dreams.



Julian O’Dea