Sunday, 11 December 2016

Thoughts on a day off from service, Barton-On-Sea

And so we came
Down from the city of Southampton.
Twenty of us, or more
Pouring along the crevices of the rock
With the languor of treacle
and sticky in the heat.

We glimpsed the huts first
like building blocks from the playroom
washing-line bleached
and pegged to the cliffs.

We felt shock of sand through nylon
As we watched the ships of our fathers and brothers
move reluctant through the narrow water
Clinging to the shore like babes
And pushing slowly out along the narrow passage
between the legs of the isle and the mainland
born at last into the open sea.

We saw stones starched and white as sugar
Dissolving into tea-warm waves
As seagulls shrieked their dinner call
like the children shouting for tea.

And through it all the sea stretched out
Flat to the horizon
Beneath the smoothing iron
of the copper-plate sun.

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