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 appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose by over 50 authors that explores the many connotations of the word “green” — available at

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