One Day Closer Every Day

by | Sep 20, 2019

Sheep droop jaw and hooves split in the stumble for the hay,

eager grey teeth picking at the stubble and the crust

Knees buckle, their hollow eyes, humble, stare down and absorb what was mud

is now unsullied deep red dust

The rain gauge says eight inches, it does nothing more than tease

While a friend brings a cup of tea, some cake, to say hello,

to try and put his mind at ease

“Thought I’d bring you this, tea’s strong, cake’s homemade,”

there’s not much more to say

“Yeah, gotta keep going, that’s the thing,

we’re one day closer every day.”


Cattles ribs are showing, with the tongue that hangs in sorrow

while the market closes down

Weekly shopping is put on hold but it’s still worth catching up

with the auctioneer in town

“You’ll get less than what you paid for ‘em,” he’s told with all due care

And looks up at him from under his wide grey brim

with his empty thoughtful stare

“It’s the best that I can do, the price is low

but it’s the most that anyone will pay”

“Yeah, we’ll just keep going, it’s what we do,

we’re one day closer every day.”


The horse she’s lame but she’ll keep on working,

the Vet says the feet need some attention

“She needs a spell” is his advice,

it’ll save his intervention

“I’ll give her the best that I have, you can pay me later,” he says,

something for the arthritis and the pain

Thanks Doc I owe you one, or two, you’ll have the cash

as soon as we get this rain

He pokes his head out of the window as he leaves

and sighs at the clouds that waft away

“Yep, just keep going, he always tells me,

they’re one day closer every day.”


The girls need new shoes for school so we asked them

if they could get by with some repairs

“Of course,” they said but we know what girls are like,

we’d like to prevent the comments and the stares

“We’re all in this together,” they shouted, they want to do their bit

“If not having new shoes means the cattle get their feed,” they said,

“we’ll gladly take the hit.”

“We should all be recycling anyway,” they said,

“we’ll cope, come what may”

“Besides, we know that we’re just one day closer every day.”


The bank is making noises about the need to talk about arrangements

before they can consider a consolidation

The question swirls inside my head but I don’t dare ask it

about what this says about our nation

He stares across his desk and tries a smile as best he can,

it dislodges as he glances

into his ledger, then asks me to give him a plan

so that he can properly rate our chances

“We want to help, you’re a family we need in the community,

if you feel you want to stay.”

A smile, a plead for immunity, we’ll just keep telling ourselves,

we’re one day closer every day.


The creek that last year put boots under water

is a dry cracked brown sun baked cake

He can hardly bare to look at it, kick his heels at it

and wonder how much more a man can take

There’s another one laying dead next to an old tree on the crumbling bank

that he didn’t need to shoot

and the Kangaroo who collapsed in the heat

while trying to dig up a root

Mrs Owens called, she’s made some bread, biscuits for the kids,

she’ll do her bit to keep the wolves at bay

Good people everywhere keep telling us

we’re one day closer every day.

© copyright – Stephen Newman 2019

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Kevin Ellwood
22 September 2019 1:34 PM

Brilliant as always, Stephen!