“Where has the water gone?”
people asked, perplexed,
tracing their toes in the dust of its empty bed.
Well, surely it must be here somewhere,
they resolved, and set out to unearth it.
Perhaps it was hiding underground anew,
sandwiched between fresh gradients of yawning bedrock?
They drilled their deepest bore-hole to find out;
dropped pebbles into the void,
strained their ears,
and waited for an age…
Nary a splash.
So, back home they went,
in a state of dry-mouthed dudgeon;
they were tramping the sticky tarmac road
down the ochre valley,
through the withered vineyards,
when a great cry went up:
Yes, there it was:
trickling along just in front of them!
Gleefully, the pack gave chase,
skipping into the concrete suburbs,
pursuing a professional escape-artist:
flowing faster and faster,
running over rooftops,
darting down drainpipes,
slipping into sewers and soakaways,
lying ahead in wait;
gathering strength in the confluence.
When they finally caught up,
water burst out in ambush:
they found themselves face-to-face
with a raging, roaring, tumult
that chased them all away from the banks.
Later, cautiously, they crept back, followed
the damp channel all the way to the coast.
There they occupied the shoreline,
praying for its safe return,
whilst they shared the salty tears of the sea.