The avenue of oleanders ran
from the hollow of the suburban sprawls
to the gum tree lined road which once began
as forest track between the rocky walls
of a much eroded volcanic range.
A sea rose bound path of shady bushes
rose in stately clumps of gothic foliage
waving in the breeze like giant rushes
as bloomed on attic shores in Hero's Age,
those blossoms clutched in drowned Leander's hand.
Glorious masses of flowers pink and red
lifted the spirits of kids off to school,
gave joy to lovers with blooms overhead,
soon to be downcast by a Council rule,
writ by fools in antipodean Thule.
Foreign, toxic, too fatal to allow,
oleander was added to the list
of dangerous pests that councils must not grow
in public parks or nooks where lovers tryst:
and the order was given, "root them out".
Brown stubbled gnomes in green livery came
quickly with chain saws, spades and loam filler,
and slashed down the blooming lot with no shame,
gouged out roots or sprayed them with weed killer,
and planted the native lilly pilly.
Now order has been restored to nature
and insurance companies' fears assuaged
we must wait some years for lilly's stature
to rival oleander's when she's aged:
vain hope for such a vapid little bush.
A few green shoots of oleander thrust
up hopefully from the earth after rain,
fatal signals to those who feel they must
with diligent hate mow them down again:
beauty sacrificed to bureaucracy.