by Jane Buel Bradley

The big eucalyptus in my alley

has a wrinkled trunk;

bark hangs in fraying ropes from

smooth branches, apricot color

brushed with green.


Today I pick up three crescents

from the swirl of leaves on the ground.

They feel like parchment in my hand,

and the seedbox under my foot

sends up a sharp fragrance.


I smelled it first as a child, coming

from Missouri to California,

choked up with asthma.

That fragrance, mixed with sea air,

cleared the way right down

to the bottom of my lungs

so I could take a deep breath

at last and sing.


“Eucalyptus” and other poetry by Jane Buel Bradley will appear in the upcoming Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose by over 50 authors that explores the many connotations of the word “green.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Buel Bradley’s first book, World Alive, appeared from PEARL Editions when she was eighty-nine years old, and was followed two years later by Tree of Life.  Jane continued to write poetry until shortly before her death two months shy of her ninety-fourth birthday. Jane was a beloved children’s librarian in Long Beach, California, a political and environmental activist, and an inspiration to all who knew her. She was the niece of Ernest Thayer, author of the beloved classic baseball poem “Casey at the Bat.”

Photo: “Eucalyptus tree” by Ashley Brown, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED