Monday, May 11, 2009



Someone or something
has been scribbling on these trees...

Not just one tree but many trees
are covered in scribbles

Lets take a closer look

It's an ancient text
that's indecipherable to me

An ancient insect text
the authors
until recently unknown

Previously thought to belong to beetles

It has now been confirmed to be
the record - the life story
of a tiny moth

The moth itself is rarely seen,
in recent years
it has been found
that this tiny moth
lays its eggs
in the autumn

between the old bark
and the new inside skin
that will become the next season's bark
of these gum trees

And if you look closely
to where the beautiful bark tutu
peels away from the trunk

You can see the scribbles
and read their story -

The egg hatches and larva life begins
the story reads from thin to thicker tunnels
as over the winter
the larva starts to feed on the tissues
just below the epidermal cells in the tree trunk
and grows until it is time to pupate

And when he is ready to escape the pupa
he will emerge from his dark and barky home
a flying moth

The eucalyptus trees that feature
this ancient story of nature
are called Scribbly Gums
the tiny 1-2mm moth
goes by the most wonderful name
of Ogmograptis Scribula

The gum-tree stands by the spring.
I peeled its splitting bark
and found the written track
of a life I could not read.

From A Human Pattern: Selected Poems by Judith Wright 1915-2000



  1. The scribbly gum is certainly one of our most fascinating. I, too, always feel there is a message I should be able to read!
    I love your Japanese illustrations.

  2. How interesting! I've never seen such a thing.
    It looks like they need a map or access to google gums?

  3. Hello Brenda
    and welcome to Qld, where it is not as warm as usual...
    It is nice to meet another Australian and an ex teacher to boot. Have you noticed how many of us have been teachers?
    Thank you for your comments and please visit again. I will call by your place shortly...
    happy Days

  4. Good one Violet... google gums - I love it because it does rather look as if they have been eating their way around in circles - then again it must be pretty dark in there sandwiched between two layers of bark and under the tree's new skin.
    Happy days old friend

  5. That was such a fascinating post Delwyn.
    Ogmograptis Scribula - What beautiful sounds the name produces :-)

    Btw, you do go through the Biblioyssey blog don't you? Every now and then it features beautiful Japanese work. I remembered you the last time I went there.

  6. Priya

    Yes I loved the moth name too - it rolls along the tongue...
    I'm not familiar with that blog - Ill look for it now... thanks
    Happy Days

  7. So funny, I have always wondered "google gum" love that one!

    xxx Mona

  8. I have read a few amazing natural history stories just recently, some almost unbelievable, but this one is the easily the most fascinating of all in its quiet, unassuming way. A lovely, lovely post. Thank you for it.

  9. Hi Dave,
    nice to see you,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed ogmograptis scribula
    Happy Days

  10. Hi Mona,
    Have you noticed these scribbles on the gums?
    Happy days

  11. Hi Delwyn back to answer your question ..for years now I look at these scribbles on the tree's and always thought it to be a mysterious sight,my fantasy would think of all possibility's what could it be? but never thought of a little tiny moth! I have used the mystery pattern( not a mystery any more) in some of my drawings.
    Great post I had a big smile all the way through!

  12. Wow. So many "mysteries" out there in nature. I'm not a moth fan but the scribbles are nice to look at!

  13. How interesting! I'm so glad you stopped by my blog and left your kind comment, so that I could find your blog!

    Like you, I am an admirer of haiku, anything Japanese, art by Marc Chagall, and mysteries of nature. I'll be a frquent visitor, I think!

    Best wishes,

  14. Great post, very well observed. It made me realise I must pay more attention.


    Polly x

  15. Glad you liked it Delwyn. The blogger is an Aussie by the way ;-)

  16. whew....I thought for a moment you found the tree I carved my name in under the influence of mushrooms !!!

  17. Tulsa,
    so you won't be adding that intriguing novel about moths to your pile? The title eludes me at present - it will return!
    Happy days

  18. Angela welcome,
    I'm glad you have come for a visit,
    We have a lot in common
    I'll be over later for coffee...

  19. Polly,
    don't you find that having a camera in your hand does that - When armed with my camera I am always on high alert for details and interesting tidbits.
    Happy Days

  20. Priya,
    yes I noticed that and one with a passion and lots of time too I think!

  21. King of New York Hacks
    welcome to Au
    you are so far from home
    sat nav not working today?

    But it is very nice to see you way down here. I have glanced at your blog and its full and bustling with activity - just like NY so I am returning later with coffee to have a good rummage.
    see you then
    Happy Days

  22. A moth usurping the poet laureate's throne now that she has just been announced? Hmmm... methinks Carol Ann Duffy wouldn't be too pleased about this. However given the fact that she is a very down-to-earth person she would probably invite that moth to a poetry reading. Many thanks for the lovely post and the poem.

    Greetings from London.

  23. Hi Mr C, from a lovley Autumn day in Aus,

    Moth poets now I like that - I wonder if they write Haiku... I should impersonate one...

    Happy Days

  24. Wow! Wonderful scrbbles Delwyn.
    They are lovely art to me.
    Amazingly beautiful and just require our little attention to get it noticed! Ha..Ha..

  25. Yoon see,
    there is so much art in nature...don't you think,
    colour, shape, structure...such beauty...every day I see something fresh...

    Happy days

  26. What a fitting poem to honour our Scribbly Gum trees !

  27. Hi Scintilla

    just perfect!

    happy days


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