Monday, February 26, 2007

Will God Keep Gumtrees?

A poem by Andrew Errington

Will God keep gumtrees
When he makes the world again,
Count ironbarks and wattles
Worth enough to mend?
And will I feel the wide warm light,
And hear cicadas hum,
As lazy evenings fall upon
The new Jerusalem?

A childhood here has filled my head
With creek beds, paperbarks,
Red space, and milky stars,
their colours in my heart.
So, I dream smooth stones to skip,
Long grass, and cockies’ shrieking,
Will also line the river’s banks,
And be the nations’ healing.

Perhaps it cannot be.
Groans betray the earth’s hard curse:
Dry land turns to dust and night.
Is our hope brand new day,
When we shall wake to our new life,
New trees drunk on new rain,
And all that’s dying, old and parched,
Will come to memory?

Must I learn to bear this loss,
sad cost of our sad pride,
and watch the country drift away
on hope’s transforming tide?
Or may I, greeting that new world
Far past this old one’s end,
Feel a smile of recognition,
At reunion with a long-absent, much-changed friend?
Andrew has started his own blog, named after this poem, which was the initial post, though he has gone on to discuss discipline and the Lord's supper and to start a series (up to six posts so far) on the New Testament and the Word of God.
Twenty points for the first to correctly name this famous river. Hint: it has not always been flanked by gum trees. Photo by HCS.


psychodougie said...

i like that heaps and stuff.

begs the question, doesn't it, of how drought fits in as part of God's good creation. do we see beauty because it's inherent, because we invent it where there's none, or because all things are beautiful in its time.

for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time for drought, and a time for flood.

Anonymous said...

The Rubicon?

byron smith said...

Michael - Good guess, but no.

Doug - do you think drought is good at all? I think I'd tend to assume it's an effect of the fall.

Andrew said...

My bid is for the Darling River.

byron smith said...

Andrew - Sorry. I'm tempted to be giving more clues, but since it's worth 20 rather than the usual 10 I'll restrain myself for a little while.

elena said...

Have you heard about this?

Anonymous said...

The Jordan?

psychodougie said...

i mean to say i find deserts beautiful. i find gulches (caused by land erosion) beautiful.

my question is whether there is inherent beauty in these things, which are obviously a result of the fall (which doesn't make heaps of sense), OR were we created with the ability to see good in all things, OR does our fallen nature mean that we are able to see good in what God calls ugly?

i am perhaps leaning to the first. or the second. but the third can also be true. hmmm...

AndrewE said...

Actually, psychodougie, I reckon you're right on the money. For me, there is a whole host of questions here. I can't help but think there will be a sadness about what's left behind, even if it's obvious how wonderful the change is. There is sadness in all change, but that doesn't make it bad. I guess my poem was trying to explore what it might look like for there to be sadness, but also unexpected delight at reunion.


Ali said...

Love this! I canoed up just such a river on the weekend with Mandy. The photo is not somewhere along the Murray River is it?

I want to see a pig-footed bandicoot (now extinct) in the new earth.

byron smith said...

Elena - thanks, I spent almost an hour checking it out yesterday. I'm about to post the best link I found.

byron smith said...

Michael - the Jordan it is. Twenty points! The clue that it was not Australian was that I said it had not always been flanked by gum trees. Israel introduced lots of eucalypts in the mid 20thC because they are very good at draining swamps.

I was going to give the clue that it is only one of three rivers to have a country named after it, but I thought that was too obvious (the other two are probably more difficult. Five points each if you can name them).

Doug & Andrew - Do you think that all deserts and gulches are the result of the fall? Don't you think that an unfallen world would have a variety of terrains? Isn't it over-desertification and over-erosion that are results of the fall? That's my hunch: transience is built in (see here and here). Nonetheless, I take your point - there are kinds of beauty that seem to be fall-dependent.

Anonymous said...

I was going to give the clue that it is only one of three rivers to have a country named after it, but I thought that was too obvious (the other two are probably more difficult. Five points each if you can name them).--

Five others are, respectively, the Niger (after which both Niger and Nigeria are named), the Congo (after which both the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) are named), the Uruguay (after which the Eastern Republic of Uruguay is named), the Paraguay (after which the Republic Paraguay is named) and the Indus (after which both India and Indonesia are named, although it mostly flows through Pakistan and obviously doesn't touch Indonesia.)

Anonymous said...

The Senegal (after which the Republic of Senegal is named), the Gambia (after which the Republic of The Gambia is named) and the Suriname (after which, well, the Republic of Suriname is named) also come to mind.

Anonymous said...

While it's not internationally recognised, one might also count the Dniester (after which Transnistria is named.)

byron smith said...


Wow - I guess I have no choice but to give you FORTY-FIVE points, shooting you up into equal second place. Personally, I was thinking of the Niger and the Congo, but should have at least remembered the Indus, if not some of the others. I had never even heard of Transnistria, for which the final five points are yours, despite the disputed status of the territory.

AndrewE said...

Michael, you have outdone yourself.