Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Wattle Tree - Judith Wright



The tree knows four truths -
earth, water, air and the fire of the sun.
The tree holds four truths in one.
Root, limb and leaf unfold
out of the seed and these rejoice
till the tree dreams it has a voice
to join four truths in one great world of gold.

-Oh that I knew that word!
I should cry loud, louder than any bird.
Oh let me live for ever, I would cry.
For that word makes immortal what would wordless die;
and perfectly, and passionately,
welds love and time into the seed,
till tree renews itself and is for ever tree –

Then upward from the earth
                   and from the water,
Then inward from the air
                   and the cascading light
poured gold, till the tree trembled with its flood.

Now from the world’s four elements I make
my immortality;  it shapes within the bud.
Yes, now I bud, and at last I break
into the truth I had no voice to speak:
into a million images of the Sun, my God.

From The Two Fires 1955
The Collected Poems

© Judith Wright

The four prime elements (earth, water, air and fire) ... are needed by the tree ... (and define the world). But what is this process (love) that creates 'a voice' from a seed ... oh that it could be known ... the key to immortality

In the beginning was the word ... the start of the process ... a never ending process as the tree continues to renew itself ... regeneration ... immortality ... for the wattle the transformation is to a 'flood of gold' ... (gold =  god with love inserted).

Like the tree ... in likewise fashion to nature ... JW defines her immortality ... and like the wattle to the myriad images of the sun ... her metaphorical God ... the truth could not be expressed by her voice (but perhaps by her poetry ... and perhaps by becoming her 'natural self').

Footnote ...
The image: a wattle in full spring bloom, near the ANU Canberra.

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