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.


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.

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