David Lewis Paget
The Creek - Poem by David Lewis Paget
There wasn’t a lot of love to lose
Between Joe Brown and Brent,
Their farms lay either side of a creek
That now lay dry, and spent,
They used to talk in the early days
When they had no axe to grind,
But Brent came back with a bride one day
Who had been on Joe Brown’s mind.
But Joe was slow in the love-me stakes
While Brent was a bit more flash,
He’d cut on in at the Farmer’s Ball
To the girl with the bright blue sash,
While Joe walked off to sit on his own
And wait for a second chance,
But Brent hung on and dazzled the girl
Right through to the final dance.
The courtship took a matter of weeks
Then they came new-wed to the farm,
And Joe was down inspecting the creek
As Brent showed Jill round the barn,
There wasn’t a fence between the two
They used the creek as a line,
‘The land to the west is yours, ’ said Joe,
‘The land to the east is mine.’
The balance wasn’t so equal now
With a new bride over the way,
Joe would have married the girl himself
But hadn’t been game to say.
He soon withdrew to his farmhouse, sat
And wallowed in his despair,
He’d been so set on marrying Jill
There was nobody else out there.
The Autumn rains came on with a flood
And the creek had begun to flow,
Brent stayed at home with his new found love
Not even a thought of Joe,
While Joe lay plotting to get him back
He’d teach him to be so flash,
And walked on up to the top of the creek
With a shovel and old pick-axe.
He felled a tree, and shovelled some stone
To block off the old creek line,
Watched the water form in a lake
Then rested, taking his time.
He chopped a hole in the old creek bank
The water washed it away,
And formed a new creek bed to the west,
And wondered what Brent would say.
When Jill got up at two in the morn
The tide was flooding on through,
In through the back door of their house
And cutting the house in two,
Brent went roaring up to the hill
Astride of his old half-track,
‘Have you gone crazy, Joe, ’ he cried,
‘You’d better be putting it back! ’
‘Too late, too late, ’ said his surly mate
‘The creek is forming a bed,
And anything to the east of it
Is mine, the agreement said!
So move your things to the west of the place
For the east of the house is mine,
The creek that’s flowing right through the house
Will be the dividing line.’
Brent went muttering back to the house
And divided the house in two,
He shored up all the rooms to the west
As the water came tumbling through,
While Joe sealed off the east of the hall
Made sure that his rooms were dry,
While Jill looked over the barricade
At Joe, and started to cry.
‘Why have you done this thing to us,
What did we even do? ’
‘He cut me off at the Farmers Ball
In the course of a dance with you.
You never gave me another chance,
I was waiting to propose.’
‘But I would never have married you,
Brent was the man I chose! ’
Brent went over and burnt the house
On the other side of the creek,
There wasn’t water to fight the flames
So it smouldered there for a week,
The farms are empty and vacant now
Two creek beds, dry as a bone,
With Brent and Jill now living in Nhill
And Joe in the scrub, alone!
2 November 2013
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