Hi, my name is Alys Jackson and I'm an author and poet

based in Adelaide, South Australia.

My work has been published in books, magazines,

anthologies and online.


Where oceans rolled now mountains tilt their wings

And rock beneath the weakened land erodes –

And in steep gorges life in crevice clings,

Brief remnants of a past that slowly rose

From watery haunts to conquer land and life

And on that land left water far behind.

Now progress leaves the rainfall in retreat

And water’s just a softness in the wind,

Or sweat that spills in limpid, liquid heat.


Beside my path the grass trees overflow,

And bracken, brittle, cuts a jagged frame;

Boulders crouched in solemn tombstone rows

That mourn the strangled flow; an empty stream.

Like veins collapsing in an addict’s hand

Our rivers sink and fold into the rock.

Fresh water now is rare, the land in drought,

And shriveled pastures shrivel dying stock,

And those who live within now do without.


The fractured ocean bed seems still alive

And swells beneath my feet to burst in plumes

Of cockatoos that spend soft-dusted lives

In rocky depths and ancient catacombs

Whose fossil creatures glide in frozen shoals

While high above the heavens ebb and flow,

Inverted waters rise in waves of clouds

That cast their dusty shadows far below –

As empty, burning, suffocating shrouds.


This poem has both the grandeur and delicacy of an almost neoclassical, Augustan elegance – the verse is regular, well-paced and its perspective is both judicious and minutely insightful. It escapes both Romantic affect and ballad simplification. It’s a poem that “thinks” more than “feels”. This is wise, meditative, compelling poetry.’ David Gilbey, President of Booranga Writer’s Centre and author of Pachinko sunset (Island Press, 2016).

4 thoughts on “Drought

    • Hi Satyananda. Thank you for introducing me to a wonderful website and I especially enjoyed your poem, The Pilgrimage to Heaven. I think it was written beautifully and would enjoy reading more of your work and hearing what you have to say. Many thanks, Alys

Leave a comment