Creek in Drought

It sauntered, once, regular
In its slow coming and going,
A delight for every childhood explorer,
Never completely still, quietly whispering,
Bubbling or murmuring, even if, sometimes, just to itself.

Now, dry between scoured slopes in this gully,
It lies, the victim, not of unthinking chance,
But of belief in the threadbare mythology,
The long, much publicised romance
Of ‘Jobs and growth’.

Conditions, we are told, will always turn.
Our wide brown land will be forgiving.
Forget the jabbering priests and their false, green doctrine.
Stand, loyal to tradition and let us together sing,
Loudly, definitively, in praise of ‘Jobs and Growth’.

But, only memories and ghosts flow here, now.
Discarded bottles, bland as mini tombstones, stand,
Plugged and tilted among dry, paper reeds. Fish plough
Their shallow graves in curdling mud or sand
And, here, only the crows laud ‘Jobs and growth’.

Bill Cotter has been published in journals in Australia, New Zealand,
New Deli and England. He has published a number of poetry collections, a
collection of short stories, a short play for voices and a historical
novel. He has won the Melbourne Shakespeare Society’s sonnet
competition and the International Library of Poetry competition.