· the right tree · in the right place ·
· for the right reason ·

TREAT News | Wet Season January - March 2020

Community Plantings 2020

Sat February 1RN 1450 Topaz Rd, TopazClarkson2000Clarkson/TRC/TREAT/SFSNRLG4
Sat February 8McLean Ridge Rd, Lake EachamMcLean2800 TREAT/QPWS/SFSCSAT
Sat February 22McLean Ridge Rd, Lake EachamMcLean2800 TREAT/QPWS/SFSCSAT
Sat February 29RN 69 Pressley Rd, Lake BarrineEmms2000 Emms/NQLMS/TREATEmms/RRA
Sat March 7Massey Creek, RavenshoeQPWS1500QPWS/TREATQPWS
Sat March 14Barron River, Gillies HighwayBonadio2000BCC/NQLMS/TREAT/QPWSCSAG3
Sat March 21Misty Mountain Nature Refuge, Millaa MillaaSET2700SET/QPWS/TRC/TREATSET/CSAG2
Sat March 28Wongabel State Forest, AthertonQPWS2000BCC/NQLMS/QPWS/TREATTerrain NRM
Sat April 4Misty Mountain Nature Refuge, Millaa MillaaSET2700SET/QPWS/TRC/TREAT/SFSSET/CSAG2
Sat April 18RN 601 Old Palmerston Hwy, Milllaa MillaaJenkinsCancelled Jenkins/TREATJenkins/CEP

NR - Nature Refuge; TRC- Tablelands Regional Council; SFS- School for Field Studies; NQLMS- NQ Land Management Services; BCC - Barron Catchment Care; SET - South Endeavour Trust.


NRLG4 - Nature Refuge Landholder Grant (Round 4); CSAT - Community Sustainability Action Grant - Threatened Species; RRA - Rainforest Reserves Australia; CSAG3 - Community Sustainability Action Grant (Round 3); CSAG2 - Community Sustainability Action Grant (Round 2); CEP - Communities Environment Program 2019 - 2020.

There are 10 community plantings this year, from 1st February till 18th April, with no planting on 15th February or at Easter on 11th April. Two sites are new areas (Wongabel and Jenkins), the Barron River site is close to where we planted in 2007 and the other sites are mostly near where we planted last year. Approximately 21,700 trees are expected to be planted. Everyone is welcome to attend the plantings. School for Field Studies students are intending to come to 4 plantings. Those new to planting are given instruction on how we plant the trees.

Clarkson planting - Galagi NR

This year the planting will be in 2 areas; one at the bottom of the Nature Refuge extension area where we planted last year, and the other as part of a buffer area where John has cleared Lantana and other weeds, next to the Nature Refuge extension. Trees will mostly be supplied by the TRC nursery.

Look for the TREAT signs on Topaz Road. Parking is on the property.

TREAT plantings - McLean Ridge Road

These 2 plantings will continue with widening the Lakes Corridor between Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham and will be adjacent to last year's plantings. Trees will be supplied by the Lake Eacham nursery.

Turn right into McLean Ridge Road which is off McLean Road, off Gadgarra Road, off Wright's Creek Road. Parking is along McLean Ridge Road and there is a walking track to the planting sites. Look for the TREAT signs.

Emms planting - Cedarvale

This planting will again be on the grass strips left in a 2015 planting. We have been planting up these strips on the side of a hill for the last 3 years to assist with quicker canopy closure, but more plantings are required. Site preparation is being done by NQLMS and trees will come from the Emms nursery.

Cedarvale is on Pressley Road off the Gillies Highway. Follow the TREAT signs - Cedarvale is past Barrine Park. Parking is on Cedarvale, but the barbecue afterwards will be held at Barrine Park.

QPWS planting - Massey Creek

This year's planting will be on a new area across a small creek. A planting was to be done here last season, but was cancelled.

Massey Creek is on the Old Palmerston Highway towards Ravenshoe. Follow the TREAT signs at the wind farm on the Kennedy Highway.

Bonadio planting - Barron River

In 2007 TREAT helped with a planting on a slope above a sediment detention pond. This year's planting is near there, on the property on the southern side of the highway. NQLMS are doing the site preparation and trees will be supplied by QPWS.

Parking is on the northern side of the highway and people will be transported from there to the planting site. The barbecue will be held on the northern property at the Bonadio tourist facility.

SET plantings - Misty Mountain NR

These 2 plantings will be near last year's plantings. Site preparation is being done by Mark McCaffrey and trees will be supplied by QPWS and TRC.

The property spans the Gap at East Evelyn and entrance to the property is opposite the turn-off to the Millaa Millaa Lookout. Parking will be mostly on the lookout road, with limited 4WD parking on the property, depending on the weather. Look for the TREAT signs on East Evelyn Road off the Palmerston Highway.

BCC planting - Wongabel State Forest

Geoff Onus' article 'Wongabel Mabi Recovery Project' in this newsletter gives some background about this planting. Site preparation will be done by NQLMS and trees will be supplied by QPWS.

Parking will be on the eastern side of the highway near the Heritage Walk. Look for the TREAT signs. There will be a walking track to the site.

Jenkins planting - Millaa Millaa

TREAT obtained funding through the Federal Government's Communities Environment Program 2019-2020 for materials to fence 2.2 km of river frontage and springs to exclude cattle from an area of 14 ha on the Jenkins property along the Beatrice River. There is some remnant vegetation within the 14 ha and Bruce and Tracey plan to revegetate the cleared areas there over time. This planting will start the revegetation of about 1 ha this year. Site preparation is being done by Bruce, who is also supplying most of the trees.

There is plenty of parking on the property. Look for the TREAT signs after crossing the second bridge on the Old Palmerston Highway coming from Millaa Millaa.

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Wongabel Mabi Recovery Project

Geoff Onus

There is a TREAT planting day at Wongabel State Forest on the 28th of March and this article will give some background about this planting.

Wongabel State Forest is mapped as Cassowary habitat and containing Mabi forest. Mabi forest is listed as a 'critically endangered ecological community' with approximately 1000 hectares left. Curtain Fig National Park (271 ha) is the largest remnant and Wongabel State Forest (263 ha) is the second largest remnant.

The Federal Government through their National Landcare Program provided funding to Terrain NRM for 'Building Rainforest Resilience' in the Wet Tropics. The focus for the project (BRRP) is the Cassowary, Littoral rainforests and Mabi forest. All three are listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Some may regard these listings as a toothless tiger but when grant funding in this region becomes available, demonstrating actions to aid recovery of these forests or species is helpful for gaining funding.

Terrain NRM called for expressions of interest (EOI) to get the BRRP projects started this wet season (with overall project funding running for four years) and hosted a meeting to discuss this funding opportunity. It was attended by representatives of the three listed focus targets. Mabi forest has an active working group of members, being Local and State Government officers, community-based groups (e.g. TREAT and Barron Catchment Care), CSIRO and industry NRM representatives.

HQ plantations who have the forestry lease over Wongabel State Forest, also attended the meeting and expressed interest in forfeiting their lease of 72.8 hectares on the western side of Wongabel State Forest. The lease still had 30 years left and their goodwill to finish forestry operations on this parcel of land was very exciting to all.

HQ plantation managers subsequently met with QPWS senior management and the administrative paperwork to hand the land back to QPWS is now underway. Hopefully the process will be completed by mid-2020. If all goes well, there is potential for more land to be handed back on the eastern side of the highway.

Barron Catchment Care lodged an EOI for Mabi forest to start stage 1 of a Wongabel Recovery Project and were successful. So in this season we intend to revegetate 0.75 ha of Mabi forest, joining up two Mabi remnants, plus survey 20 hectares of Mabi remnant, with some weed control.

The majority of the western forestry lease is bounded by the Kennedy Highway to the east and Scrubby Creek to the west. It can be broken into two zones running parallel with the highway. The western/southern side is Blue gum country and the eastern/northern side is potentially Mabi forest. Some time needs to be spent assessing the area to determine management actions. For example, the soil change is very noticeable where the open forest (Blue gum) starts to grow. Actions may include fire management and weed control in the Blue gum zone and Mabi forest reinstatement where appropriate. If you drive past now, you will notice a large paddock of Guinea grass. Here, the Mabi Recovery project could go for at least 10 years.

This year's planting is the start of an exciting period for Mabi forest recovery at Wongabel.

Western Wongabel Map

Wongabel Map.

Revegetation Saving Abbott's Booby on Christmas Island

Angela McCaffrey

Abbott's Booby Christmas Is

Mark and I are keen bird watchers so we had long wanted to visit Christmas Island to see the eleven special birds there, plus migrant and vagrant species which are hard to see anywhere else in Australia. Last January Ian Shepherd, Nursery Coordinator from the revegetation nursery on Christmas Island, visited TREAT to learn how we go about revegetation on the Tablelands and see if any of our methods could be transferred to their nursery. Mark and I showed Ian around several areas of rainforest planting and in turn, learned much from him about the challenges faced trying to successfully grow rainforest on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, a very long way from any city or centre from where goods are distributed and where soil, fertilizer and organic material is thin on the ground.

Not long after Ian had left, we decided our next holiday would include a week on Christmas Island to see the birds and also to check out the nursery and work that has already been done. Unfortunately in the meantime, Ian did not renew his contract and left the island, but not before he had given us several contacts to take up.

Ian had explained in a presentation to TREAT how the island had been developed due to phosphate mining which began at least 100 years ago. Whilst 60% of the island is protected as National Park, large mining scars and infrastructure had damaged the rainforests and this had a huge impact on the breeding habits of the endangered Abbott's Booby, a large seabird which nests high in the canopy only on Christmas Island. Areas of mining not only destroy habitat but also create edges which cause the wind to lift up into the canopy and knock baby birds out of their nests. Revegetation is repairing these scars, but it is slow and unbelievably expensive. There are also cultural elements to consider as most of the islanders are there because of mining, either directly employed or as descendants of Chinese and Malay communities brought in over the decades, and whilst only around 80 people are still employed by the declining industry, it is still considered an important part of the island's history.


Even though we had listened intently to what Ian had said, we were unprepared for the sights which greeted us on the island. There had been no rain for at least five months, so vegetation around the settled areas was dehydrated and brown, including any lawns and the golf course. Roadsides were mainly weedy with Leucaena and Mikania vine and one was struck by the lack of soil; all was rocky and grey. Seabirds constantly wheeled overhead near the cliffs and shorelines, even inland to a lesser degree, but when one walked inside the mature rainforest, mainly on the plateau, it was like being in a different place; cool, calm with huge trees, many forest-dwelling birds and of course the famous Red Crabs.

Back in the early 1990s the Australian Government sought to mitigate the impact of mining on the rainforest and decided to set up a levy charged on the mining company's profits, to go directly towards repairing the damage caused. The revegetation nursery was set up as a direct result of this levy. Currently it produces around 30,000 trees from around 40 species each year, with between 12,000 and 26,000 being planted depending on the size of the site being repaired. Huge costs go into site preparation which, unlike our own efforts, involves moving tonnes of soil from surrounding areas in order to have anything to plant into, on top of the limestone shelf and pinnacles left by the mining process.

We met up with Alasdair Grigg who is the manager of the CIMFR (Christmas Island Minesite to Forest Rehabilitation) program and he took time out to show us around the nursery, a new planting site under preparation and previous plantings. Considering the huge challenges faced by the program, the results are impressive. Weed control is good, combating several highly invasive weeds, especially vines, and small teams work at spraying, hand pulling and cutting vines to protect the young trees.

Up to two hectares per year are prepared for planting, depending on how much land the mining company relinquishes. As mentioned before, the site preparation is a massive undertaking using excavators in excess of 30 tonnes, dozers, front end loaders, trucks and graders to move soil from stock piles created by the mining process, back over the planting site to a depth of up to 1.5 metres in ideal situations. Earthworks alone in 2015, on a 2ha site, cost around $84,000. This compares with around $10,000 on the Tablelands.

Site preparation Reveg nursery

Site preparation, Revegetation nursery.

In the nursery, 2 to 3 full-time employees do very similar tasks to the work done at TREAT. The nursery looks very familiar, with seeds being processed and sown, potting up of seedlings, and hardening-off benches full of healthy-looking young trees ready for planting. Whilst TREAT produces up to around 200 species for up to four different forest ecosystems, the Christmas Island nursery concentrates its efforts on the toughest species which can survive very poor conditions of low soil levels, low nutrient levels, low rainfall in recent years and high competition from some very aggressive weeds.

They have three different types of forest and currently concentrate their efforts on the tall, wet rainforests of the plateau where the Abbott's Booby nests. Of course Abbott's Booby is not the only animal to be impacted by mining, and many other creatures benefit from the restoration, including the Red Crabs, which live in burrows in the forest during most of the year, eating leaf litter, then migrate in their millions to the shores to breed during November, depending on the moon cycle. Luckily, we were a week or two early for the migration as it severely impacts movement around the island.

Revegetation sites are monitored to see how quickly forest birds and crabs move in and it's surprisingly quick, with generalist birds moving in within five years and crab burrows being detected within ten years, so revegetation has a positive impact relatively soon after planting. A small team is employed by the revegetation unit to conduct weed control and fertilizer rounds but tree growth is slow, so the work needs to be continued for many more years than the three years which we undertake on the Tablelands before walking away from a mostly closed canopy. Again, this increases the costs well beyond our normal expectations. Other endangered animals which benefit from the revegetation include the Christmas Island Flying-fox, the Giant Gecko and the Blue-tailed Skink which is under a captive breeding program. However, there have been several extinctions on the island, mainly due to impacts by invasive species such as Yellow Crazy Ants and Wolf Snakes, but also the impact of loss of habitat.

The future of the rainforest, its inhabitants, the revegetation program and mining on the island are all entwined. Much land is under crown ownership and includes many areas of mining lease which have not yet been taken up. These would result in considerable clearing, but due to economic forces may never be developed. The CIMFR program relies on the levy from the mining company and would not survive without continued mining, so it is a bit of a catch 22 situation. We applaud the efforts and commitment of all those involved in saving this special place and the wildlife which rely on those efforts. In the meantime, Mark and I had a wonderful holiday and saw all of the special birds on this incredible island.

Christmas Island 1 years reveg Christmas Island 3 years reveg

Christmas Island Revegetation after one year, Revegetation after three years.

TRC Community Revegetation Nursery Celebrates 30 years

Larry Crook

On Monday 16th December the Tablelands Regional Council Community Revegetation Nursery (TCRN) hosted a family-focused open day at the Winfield Park nursery to acknowledge the contribution the Nursery has made to improving our environment during 30 years of operation. The nursery grows local native species for revegetation projects of all sizes. The dedication of staff, volunteers and the community over these 30 years means that more than 920,000 trees have been planted across 280ha for revegetation projects throughout the southern Atherton Tablelands.

On display were local plants, native fruits and flowers, old photos of planting projects and a large poster which mapped a sample of the 920,000 trees supplied by TCRN and planted across the tablelands.

It was a beautiful sunny summer's day, with free cold water and icy poles provided to accompany the sausage sizzle. Thanks to the TCRN volunteers who helped out by supervising activities and cooking the sausage sizzle, the day ran smoothly and was a great success.

The family-friendly activities held on the day included:

Gift vouchers from local Tablelands cafes were provided as prizes for the competitions.

The nursery opened in 1989 with the redeployment and retraining of logging industry personnel to the then-named Wet Tropics Tree Planting Scheme, following the World Heritage listing of the Wet Tropics Rainforests in 1988. The scheme was instigated by rainforest ecologist Geoff Tracey who remained a scientific adviser till his death in 2004.

TRC Reveg Nursery

Nursery News

Nick Stevens

Hello and Happy New Year to all, and welcome to a new planting season. There are plenty of planned community plantings again this year, commencing at the start of February and hopefully we will continue to get a few regular showers and lower temperatures before the predicted late wet season starts properly.

If you are intending a larger planting on your property this season and have an application in to TREAT for additional trees, it would be helpful to get your trees early if your site is properly prepared. It is also helpful to nursery staff if you can give at least 1 week's notice prior to your desired tree collection date so we can ensure ongoing allocations of stock throughout the planting season. There may be some weeks where we are unable to accommodate all requests due to larger project commitments. Please remember to return unbroken plant trays and tubes to the nursery after planting, for reuse.

Renewal works are progressing at the nursery with the shed replacement capital works project still in the final phase of the planning stage, with construction to commence over the next couple of months. Other nursery construction projects such as fencing and rejigging nursery racks and irrigation are also progressing when time permits.

This year's planting at Massey Creek, Tully Falls National Park, will concentrate on a new area across the stream from the last few years' plantings. We intended to start planting in this area last season, but other (unforeseen) park duties prompted cancellation of our main Saturday community planting on the site and we were only able to commit to a smaller infill planting held mid-week. Again, thanks to those volunteers who were able to assist at the time.

Update on Replacement BBQ Trailer

Angela McCaffrey

Many of you will recall the disappointment and upset caused by the theft of several valuable items from the shed at Freemans Forest NR back in September. Most important amongst these items was the BBQ trailer and its contents which we use at every planting event. Upset turned to joy with the wonderful donations received from many kind hearts but especially from Atherton Rotary Club who donated $5,000 to help us get a replacement trailer quickly. The planting season is almost upon us, so the BBQ teams had little time to organise a replacement trailer, the BBQ itself and all those bits and pieces which are essential for having the cooking, serving and cleaning up afterwards at a BBQ, go smoothly.

Thanks go to Trish and Andrew Forsyth for the replacement commercial quality BBQ, and to many others for all their thoughtful donations such as folding tables, utensils, and a gazebo from Extreme Motorcycles, Atherton.

Thanks also to John Hardman and Doug Burchill for all their efforts in organising the replacement trailer which had to be ordered then picked up from Tolga Traders, and to Mandy Bormolini and Elizabeth Hamilton-Shaw who worked out all the details required to equip it again.

The new trailer will be in action for all to see at the first planting of the season (on 1/2/20 at John and Marion Clarkson's, Topaz Rd.) and the hard-working planters can enjoy the usual barbecue.

BBQ Trailer

The new trailer being measured for logos.

Doug Burchill and Mark McCaffrey have upgraded the security to a high standard at Freemans Forest NR.

Seed/ Fruit Collection Diary October - December 2019

SpeciesCommon NameRegional EcosystemCollection Dates
Aceratium ferrugineum Rusty Carabeen Mt Lewis 1/10/2019
Alloxylon flammeum Satin Silky Oak 7.8.2 24/10/2019
Alloxylon wickhamii Satin Silky Oak 7.8.2 30/10, 19/11/2019
Argyrodendron polyandrum Black Tulip Oak 7.8.2 6/11, 18/11, 25/11/2019
Arytera divaricata Rose Tamarind 7.8.3 24/10, 29/10, 18/11/2019
Arytera pauciflora Smaller Rose Tamarind 7.8.2 17/10/2019
Athertonia diversifolia Atherton Oak 7.8.2 28/11, 12/12/2019
Atractocarpus fitzalanii Brown Gardenia 7.3.10 28/11/2019
Beilschmiedia oligandra Ivory Walnut 7.8.2 17/10/2019
Beilschmiedia tooram Brown Walnut 7.8.2 18/10, 8/11/2019
Brachychiton acerifolius Flame Tree 7.8.3 17/10/2019
Carallia brachiata Freshwater Mangrove 7.3.10 20/11/2019
Cardwellia sublimis Northern Silky Oak 7.3.10, 7.8.2 29/10, 20/11, 28/11/2019
Castanospora alphandii Brown Tamarind 7.8.4 5/12/2019
Chionanthus ramiflorus Northern Olive 7.3.10 12/10/2019
Cinnamomum laubatii Pepperberry 7.8.2 10/10/2019
Cryptocarya corrugata Corduroy Laurel 7.8.2, 7.8.4 10/10, 6/11, 28/11/2019
Cryptocarya hypospodia Northern Laurel 7.8.2 28/11/2019
Cryptocarya melanocarpa Laurel 7.8.2 17/10/2019
Cupaniopsis anacardioides Beach Tamarind 7.8.2 20/11/2019
Darlingia ferruginea Rusty Silky Oak 7.8.2 14/11/2019
Davidsonia pruriens Ooray 7.8.2 21/10/2019
Dianella caerulea Blue Flax Lily 7.8.2 14/11/2019
Diospyros laurina (formerly D.cupulosa) Brown Ebony 7.8.1 20/11/2019
Dysoxylum pettigrewianum Spur Mahogany 7.8.1 16/10/2019
Dysoxylum rufum Rusty Mahogany 7.8.4 17/10, 6/11/2019
Elaeocarpus bancroftii Kuranda Quandong 7.8.2 12/12/2019
Elaeocarpus foveolatus White Quandong 7.8.2 17/10/2019
Endiandra bessaphila Blush Walnut 7.8.2 24/10, 14/11/2019
Endiandra insignis Hairy Walnut 7.8.2 6/11, 28/11/2019
Endiandra monothyra Rose Walnut 7.8.2 3/10, 10/10, 17/10, 24/10/2019
Endiandra montana Coach Walnut 7.8.2 10/10/2019
Endiandra sideroxylon Buff Walnut 7.8.2 17/10/2019
Endiandra wolfei Laurel 7.8.2 28/11/2019
Ficus crassipes Round Leaf Banana Fig 7.8.2 14/11/2019
Ficus destruens Rusty Fig 7.8.2 1/10/2019
Ficus racemosa Cluster Fig 7.8.1 16/10/2019
Ficus watkinsiana Watkin's Fig 7.8.2 14/11/2019
Firmiana papuana Lacewood 7.8.3 11/11/2019
Flindersia bourjotiana Silver Ash 7.8.4 22/10/2019
Garcinia gibbsiae Mountain Mangosteen 7.8.2 10/10/2019
Geijera salicifolia Scrub Wilga 9.8.3 (Forty Mile Scrub NP) 24/9/2019
Glochidion hylandii Hyland's Buttonwood 7.8.2 19/11, 28/11/2019
Guioa lasioneura Woolly Nerved Tamarind 7.3.10, 7.8.2 11/12, 17/12/2019
Guioa montana Mountain Guioa 7.8.4 6/11/2019
Harpullia frutescens Dwarf Harpullia 7.8.2 29/9/2019
Harpullia pendula Queensland Tulipwood 7.8.1 16/10/2019
Harpullia rhyticarpa Slender Harpullia 7.8.2 3/10/2019
Helica lamingtoniana Lamington's Silky Oak 7.8.4 22/10/2019
Hicksbeachia pilosa Red Bauple Nut 7.8.2 24/10/2019
Hylandia dockrillii Blushwood 7.8.2 3/10/2019
Hymenosporum flavum Native Frangipani 7.8.2 19/11/2019
Jagera pseudorhus var pseudorhus Pink Tamarind 7.8.2 3/10/2019
Litsea connorsii Bollywood 7.8.2 3/10/2019
Litsea leefeana Brown Bollywood 7.8.2 3/10, 30/10/2019
Lomatia fraxinifolia Lomatia Silky Oak 7.8.4 22/10, 19/12/2019
Millettia pinnata Pongamia Tree 7.3.10 30/10/2019
Musgravea heterophylla Briar Silky Oak 7.3.10 20/11/2019
Ochrosia elliptica Scarlet Wedge-apple 7.3.10 29/9/2019
Opisthiolepis heterophylla Blush silky Oak 7.8.2 24/10/2019
Planchonella myrsinodendron Northern Yellow Boxwood 7.8.3 6/11/2019
Podocarpus dispermis Broad Leaved Brown Pine 7.8.2 9/10/2019
Rhysotoechia robertsonii Robert's Tuckeroo 7.3.10 11/12/2019
Symplocos gittinsii Gittin's Hazelwood 7.8.4 27/11/2019
Syzygium cormiflorum Bumpy Satinash 7.8.2, 7.8.3, 7.8.4 3/10, 22/10, 29/10, 6/11, 5/12/2019
Syzygium erythrocalyx Scarlet Satinash 7.8.2 11/11, 20/11/2019
Syzygium johnsonii Rose Satinash 7.8.2 3/10, 24/10/2019
Syzygium kuranda Kuranda Satinash 7.8.2 24/10, 14/11/2019
Syzygium luehmannii Small Leaved Watergum 7.8.2 20/12/2019
Syzygium papyraceum Paperbark Satinash 7.8.2 5/12/2019
Syzygium unipunctatum Rolypoly Satinash 7.8.2 3/10/2019
Toechima erythrocarpum Pink Tamarind 7.8.1 16/10, 30/10, 6/11/2019

Species and Common names taken from 'Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants Edition 7' online key:


TREAT Christmas Party

At the TREAT Christmas party on 13th December, there was plenty of food, good fellowship and Geoff entertained us with another of his poems.

Christmas party Christmas party


S is for senility, in case you had forgot
Faced with this debility, my mind has lost the plot
It's happened rather gradually, across the span of time
But now all I remember is this poem's supposed to rhyme.

E was for exceptional, the memory I once owned
It's recently gone walkabout - I should have had it cloned
I should have taken better care, I just had no idea
That when I got my pension card, my mind would disappear.

N is for my neurons, each day they number less
They're packing up, departing, with no forwarding address
They're leaving no dependents, new neurons to take their place
That's why you'll often see this vacant look upon my face.

I is for insidious, this loss of faculties
The fading sight, the loss of hearing, clogged-up arteries
The legs that once could run all day now barely raise a trot
And if they do my bladder - let's just say I'd rather not.

L is loss of memory, which fades like morning mist
Except the things I wish were gone that somehow still persist
The drive I hooked clean out-of-bounds, the slice that hit a tree
And shame of shame, that twelve-inch putt I missed on number three.

I is for insidious, this loss of - hang about
I think I've done this verse before, yes, there it is, no doubt
What was I about to say?  Oh rats, I think it's gone
It might come back, but meantime I'll just try to soldier on.

T must stand for Father Time, relentless marching on
Already in my eighth decade - don't ask me where that's gone
Can you believe it's fifteen years since I stood on this step
And started off these Christmas poems?  Do I regret it? Yep.

Y is for the youth that's passed, along with memory
Can't understand why this is so, why this just has to be
And why I constantly misplace the things I need in life
Wallet?  Car keys?  Glasses?  Just as well I have a wife.

© Geoff Errey
December 2019

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