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From: Vol.03 N.01 – How Humans Engage with Earth


by Betty Johnston



A considerable natural stream of water

flowing in a definite course, usually into

the sea.


Stealthily the river snakes

a passage between grains

of desert sand beneath river gums

frugal with treasure

whispering comfort

to tree roots underground. Refusing

to spill into bright air

it surfaces in caves

under overhanging rocks


by serpents.





 A body of water of considerable size,

surrounded by land.


The lakebed stretches wide

iced with salt

revealing in sand hills eroded by wind

the bones of history.

Published: January 2016
Betty Johnston

has stories and poems published in a number of collections – Room to Move, Illumina 2007, Minute to Midnight – and in several journals and online. She lives in Sydney, enjoys reading, writing and arithmetic (actually maths), and travelling in the outback.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.