Watershed

        From this rock spine, not three feet wide,
        Rivers of a continent divide
        As love and lust spring side by side.

This side the springs down forest-wet mountainside falling and faltering
Wrestle, the roots of the rivers entangled in the roots of trees,
Conjoining at last in the valley; log-barred, with course ever altering,
Search out their Eastward passage; then, shelving by sure degrees,
Curve rich through the pasturing plain, crops, cities and broad banks sheltering.
And, emptying, find, in the tidal fullness of the ocean, ease.

That side, so near, the waters glissading from the rock-face sundering
Sink, re-emerge, combine; here, there, are hurled and tossed;
Rive rocks, tear rootless earth, fell trees; suddenly meandering
Spread salty marshes; plunge again; with pace now slack, now forced,
Expend their dying coils; and West and Westward wandering
In a slakeless sandy desert sinking forever lost.

Poems of Australia

Poems of Nature