The paddocks bake to brown in summer heat.
The river shrinks to holes where lungfish dwell.
The grass remaining cracks beneath one’s feet.
The water level drops deep in the well,
And everywhere is death, and death the smell,
For scattered on the ground the rotting dead.
A blasted vision of an earthly hell,
Where walk the living with their limbs like lead,
Beneath a sky bloodshot at dusk with red.
The wind stirs dust; the tree limbs crack and fall.
The ants and maggots thrive – they are well-fed.
A crow upon a carcass sounds its call.
The land is dying – drying is its blood;
Its thirst will not be quenched – until the flood.
The land has languished in the drought’s foul grip,
But now the clouds roll in and soon the rain
Falls lightly, and the downpipes start to drip.
Then steadier, like an approaching train
it’s heavier, that welcome sweet refrain
As gutters gurgle and tanks overflow,
And raindrops drum against the window pane.
The rain turns to torrential – warm winds blow.
The fresh creeps higher in the stream below.
The river’s banks are broken, comes the flood.
Across the flats the surging waters flow
To wash away drought’s sacrificial blood.
The gods appeased – the cycle is complete.
Now throbs the land once more to its slow beat.