Banksia Incognita

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Those first landfalls, gaining firm legs
After months of open sea, and the creaking
Of hempen rigging, can only have bewildered,
And the sounds of the morning, as Banks awoke,
Made him know how far from England he had strayed.
Above the sea spray, the heath resounding
With guttural twin notes of honeyeaters, plying
The tall, nectared inflorescences,
The lapping of the pigmy possum, drowned
By the laughing of kookaburras
And the chunter of their children—
Were there echoes of these, in the herbarium,
Where the pressed inflorescences were painted,
And the cones, bristling with hooked beard hairs,
Examined, compared with the fruits of pines?