Academic journal article Antipodes

Dairy Farmers at the Beach

Academic journal article Antipodes

Dairy Farmers at the Beach

Article excerpt

My parents were never swimmers.

They kept to their own tide, too busy

to sunbake, they wore what was needed-

floral dresses, kitchen skin, yakka pants

held up by a loose belt, blue singlet tan.

They stand on the beach, arms folded

eyeing off the water as if watching the land

for signs of history. together they stoop

and sway, swinging their hands

at the waves, laughing, stepping back

from the wash.

For they are inland people

the beach is a type of joke not be taken

as seriously as a basket of washing,

shifting the dry cows, or getting ready for Mass.

They rarely go in above their knees

and lay their bath towels in a place

where they can have a pitch to others.

We always had to leave peterborough

by 3:30. While others played cricket, snoozed

or bodysurfed, i learned about duty

being in the dairy twice a day,

the heat of four children in the back seat

sand between our thighs, sunburn and camel bites. …

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