Monday, 12 August 2019

It's Not Our Fault.

It’s Not Our Fault.


A million fish lie white-belly up and rotting
in shallow water of the Darling River.
The mighty river with its 40,000 year old fish traps
is drying into a dying trickle,
its tributaries into muddy ponds.
Upstream, corporate cotton growers 
squint and stare over vast irrigation reserves.
“It’s not our fault,” they say.
“We only take our entitlement. 
It’s the drought. Blame nature.”
Downstream, the pumps with their 
too often deregulated water metres
steal the precious scarce water 
into networks of open channels.
It’s not our fault,” they say.
“Everybody’s doing it. 
It’s the drought. Blame nature.”
Across the entire basin and beyond,
nearly half the Australian continent,
a record heatwave looms.
Summer temperatures soar to 47C.
Plants droop. Water holes are mud.
Panting roos seek relief but find none.
Birds sit noiseless and still, wings and beaks open.
“It’s a tragedy,” says the politician, 
“But it’s not our fault.
There’s not much we can do.
It’s the drought. Blame nature.”
But a million fish lie white-belly up and stinking
in the algae bloom oxygen-deprived water
and each day come warnings 
of more disaster to come.

 First published in Verse-Virtual, June 19

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