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Books & Poetry

Poem: At the Punchmirup South Corner

Books & Poetry

This week’s Poet’s Corner poem about a childhood place recalled and revisited is from Peter Burges.

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At the Punchmirup South Corner

for Michael and Margaret

The old school still leans heavily
against absence of pines
at Punchmirup South corner
where Dad always crunched
the snub-nosed Bedford’s gears,
and we three, thoroughly Pavlovian,
bounced and hollered, scratching
backs of thighs on exposed springs

becoming reserved again
driving over the cattle pit
where lambs break legs,
rattling down Home Track
toward the house, the shadow
behind kitchen window gleams
compassed by the house’s
wide-open pink and yellow wings.

I didn’t know then our darkening
of mood was a presentiment
of halcyon days coming to an end;
of wanderings through unreturnable
distances beyond the renewing mists
of Mallee hills;

that love would become so taut,
frayed, stretched to breaking;
that parents prove powerless
against a child’s impetus toward
separation; that worlds beyond
laps and barb wire fences would echo
interminably with the loon calls
of longings for home.

Peter Burges lives in Perth. Growing up and working on the family farm at Broomehill in Western Australia’s Mallee region, he is now retired after 25 years with IDP Education in Asia and the Middle East, prior to which he studied at the Marist Fathers’ seminary in Sydney, completed his BA at the University of Western Australia, and worked on a Fred Hollows trachoma program. His poetry has appeared in various Australian journals and been commended and shortlisted in a number of competitions, while his first collection, “through slow-turning days”, was published in 2019. He is currently seeking publication for a second collection, “always, homewoods bound”.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.
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