This year, the river beside our tents
no longer runs out to the sea.

“We come here
for predictability,”

a camper only half grins,
hands on hips.

At check-in
the receptionist told us:

the mouth is clogged
with the sand of seven King Tides.

She’s worried
that the fish will die without saltwater

but the park rangers say
nature will take its course:

high tides
will reign again soon.

Me? I’m at peace
when my son kayaks at sunset.

He’s dabbling safe
in the bath of a benign billabong.

It’s plugged tight
from that screeching suck of the ocean’s whorling gullet.

And the river’s mouth
is not gone forever –

of that, I’m fairly sure. Mostly
because my forever big sister

remembers another summer
when sea and river were held apart.

Like Samson’s forearms
glistening against the pillars of his mockers’ temple,

like that transition in labour
panting before our baby crowned his final passage,

like Renoir’s summer trees
spinning the smokey clouds into strands of gold,

these still waters
are merely an illusion of permanence –

a river’s pause
between roaring storms.

A visual meditation on August Renoir’s “Landscape Between Storms”, (now available here on and prompted by WordPress daily post theme: