On the train to Canberra
the soil drowns in sunshine
and not a lick of water can be found
to quench the thirsty land.
Kindle-ready strands thrust malnourished fingers to the sky
as dust balls dance around sweat-laden hooves,
the woolly creatures morphing with the landscape,
twins wearing the same colours.
Scottish sticks stretch to the clouds
with outstretched arms
praying for those above to
cry rivers into their parched stems and
one lone ribbed cow sips from the near-dry dam
sniffing the air to see if others might
come steal its life force
then hurriedly drops its face to the murky waters,
And the wind sings through umber branches
whistling as it goes, ignorant of the cracked lips of each leaf as it
flings itself along catching the stones loose from the soil and
tumbling each one around like marbles.
Amazing then it is to see green-leaved trees
standing stern against the wind.
But then, the surrounding barrenness belies their survival as they
steal every liquid tear that comes their way and suck the earth dry.
(c)2019 Miriam E. Miles
Written in response to the 2019 fires raging across the Australian East Coast.