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Summer in the Country
by
Peter Skrzynecki


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Summer in the country
was brushing away
flies from your face
and wiping sweat from your eyes—

watching grasses and grains
shimmer in paddocks
or sheep and cattle
grazing beyond a windbreak of pines.

Galahs clanged over the homestead.
A windmill turned
when a breeze sprung up.
Cockatoos screeched from the pepper tree.

Only crows frightened me
with their sorrowful cries
and the way they flew slowly
like black crosses.

The old slab-split shed
was a treasure-trove
of harnesses, bridles, farm
machinery, forty-four-gallon drums—

its walls covered
with cobwebs that housed
unimaginable spiders
but where it was cool inside.

I didn’t miss Europe
like my parents did—
nor a Christmas without snow
I’d hear them talking about.

Summer in the country
was being given a glass of cold lemonade
and falling asleep
under a red-gum’s shade.

From Old/New World: New and Selected Poems (University of Queensland Press, 2007)
Used with the author's permission.

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Peter Skrzynecki was born in Germany in 1945 to Polish/Ukrainian parents, but the family emigrated to Australia in 1949. Using his experiences as an immigrant as the foundation for his work, Peter has grown into one of Australia’s preeminent authors, having published an award-winning body of work that includes poetry, short stories, novels, and anthologies. He currently teaches at the University of Western Sydney. Learn more about him at www.peterskrzynecki.com.

 

 


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