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A Sense of River

by Peter Carroll



Broken and ragged I struggle on
                                Cousins once mighty suffer, constrict and dry
Death becomes a channel, haemorrhage and die
Still land bleeds out!
Memory of gentle times past
Mountains, hills, streams and gullies filled to last.
                               From being born I nourish the green
                               Slipping through quiet glades barely seen.

Timeless and rich before your birth,
Long before you arrived I made my mark upon the earth..
Moving through land once teeming with motion and sound,
Kookaburra, parrot and hawk stifled by your presence;
No longer abound
Rough and craggy, like the land of which I’m born
                               Twisted, knotted and gnarled like the remaining trees who stand forlorn.

No longer the sparkle and freshness of youth
Old and torn now I must live by your truth!
Both barrier and boon
My value in country gone too soon
An obstacle to be crossed
My worth in your mind, unknown and lost.
                               You manage and tame.

Our blood, mine is yours,
Dams congealing sores.
Who speaks for my life?
As drains cut like a knife.
Take mine hasten death!
And Charon floating on the Styx patient, awaits your last breath.
                               Who knows what is natural; a flow?
                               What worth my life, if only as a slave to yours?

For your money and in your haste,
My blood an unfair trade for the cancer of your chemicals and waste,
Succour to your pests, I have no say.
My guilt and need in silence stay
Imported beauty in innocence spread,
Born again choking weeds, harbingers of the dead.
Forced to spread the tumours of your gain,
Oblivious, no sense of my pain
Hostage to your greed,
Rather were it only to your need!



Peter Carroll is president of the Avon Riverkeeper Association and a Director of Waterkeepers Australia.He studied Ecopsychology under Dr. Peter Cock & Dr. Sylvie Shaw while obtaining his Masters Degree in Environmental Science at Monash University.

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