His eyes open
blink in the wind
heart thumps under
water heavy jacket
hands and face numb.
Tries to wriggle his toes
in the wet woolly socks
his shoes gone.
peer at him greedily
He imagines he sees
his mother’s grey eyes,
“This is not what I wanted,”
Was this what he wanted
when he washed down
the pills with three quarters
of a bottle of Bourbon?
The sound of a siren.
Now pebbles crunch.
He feels his head lifted.
Where salt sea winds make their eerie sounds
and grey-green waves come crashing to the shore
and water washed pebbles tumble from obscurity
into an ever changing collage of muted colour
High on the shore, a beached starfish lies rigid in the sun,
greedy seagulls pick over empty oyster shells
Bobbly brown seaweed mingles with ribbons of green.
Chalky cuttlefish lie beside a shiny skate egg husk
One pebble, grey and white – with a gleam of light
shining through its centre, a shape, strangely soothing.
Rolled over in the palm of my hand its hard cold surface
seems like a symbol of something mystic, other worldly.
Here they come streaming out of the station
and down to the sea
where squawky seagulls herald their arrival.
Ignoring stripy deckchairs at wind breaks
they settle for their beach mats and
Barefoot children brave the pebbles
to meet the chill of the sea,
throw stones to skim the waves.
Kites flutter with over optimistic gaze
ice creams melt,
tea in paper cups turns cold
Too soon the fun comes to an end
and nervous crabs in buckets
await their fate.
But all is well,
everything is packed
children sent to discharge their captives.
I have had a beach hut for over thirty years, my partner bought it when he lived down here thirty years ago in the 80s. He had to move back to London for several years but westill came down with my mother, sons and later daughter – in – laws and grandchildren. I often came down with Joshua then eldest grandchild on the train.
(for Joshua 15 years ago)
We are off to Granny’s beach hut
so we are waiting for the train,
with buckets, balls and sandwiches,
umbrellas for the rain.
Gran says we’ll walk for ages,
so the buggy’s just in case.
My legs are not quite long enough
to walk at Granny’s pace.
Gran talks and talks to all her friends,
so I wait patiently,
But now we empty everything
because she’s lost the key.
At last we open Smiley House,
The name is on the door,
It’s full of lovely things
and I’ve been here before.
There are nets to do the fishing,
a kettle for Gran’s tea,
a chair for her to take a rest while I
throw pebbles in the sea.
If I want a paddle
I have to tell my Gran,
I’m not allowed to go alone,
She has to hold my hand.
We eat up all the sandwiches,
At four we catch the train,
We’ve had a really lovely time
and now here comes the rain!