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The Memory Tree: (1 Viewer)


Friends of WF
He was an unusual…boy?
She was not sure… girl?
Just as likely…

What made her or him different though
was the manner of remembering.

He or she had no memories inside.

Instead, the memories
to be recollected
grew amongst the leaves of a beautiful quandong tree.


would pluck a startling red quandong each morning
when the bright yellow sun
was rising in the magnificent blue sky

peel away the rind
lick the juices off fingers
with tongue and lips.


devoured one memory only
every day.

Some days the memory
was of a large red roo
with eyes like brown smoke
and a tail that thumped the ground in joy.

Or a hill
covered in red and blue parrots who squawked
stories at each other of the strange platypus
who swam in distant misty rivers.

Sometimes it was of the echidna’s tongue
reaching deep within
the roots of a fallen eucalypt trunk
searching for delectable ants for breakfast.

Or of hands
dipped in white ochre painting the rough wall
of a secret cave
to tell the tale of humanity.

It was like
living a life

or backwards in time to before
the quandong
was a quandong

before it was a flower, cream and smelling as sweet
as morning dew

or a bud that unfolded and drew
the native black bee inside.

Back to when
the tree was bare
and the sun was hidden
by clouds.
When rain fell upon the inland sea
like the words of a song
and her or his life
had just begun.

Each evening
as the sun grew heavy and decided to rest
taking off its bright yellow coat
to be replaced with silk pyjamas
of the deepest blue


would climb into the fork in the middle of the quandong tree
nestle in
feel the two boughs of the tree
hug with love
and encourage him
or her
to dream of the memory that waited
to be discovered
in the quandong
the very next day.


Staff member
Senior Mentor
I love this. I had never heard of quandong before. Now I can look, but did not need it on first read; I can imagine. I particularly liked the bits about devouring things and curious comments like 'living a life', which sounds a bit tautological but interesting somehow.


Senior Member

It’s a shame that this hasn’t had as much attention as I think it deserves. This is a really interesting piece that again questions the concept of identity and what makes up our individuality. I read this as a comment on nationhood and nationality. I think you do well to again evoke this feel of oral history and stories being passed down through generations and this fits in with the idea that nationality and cultural identity aren’t something we’re born with but rather something that is learnt.

The conceit of he or she adds a layer to this also, which could lead to a reading of gender identity and the argument of nature or nurture. Which is an interesting way to look at this piece.

Anyway, thank you for sharing this and sorry I haven’t added anything constructive