Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator




In the back seat of the Ford Cortina
we jump up and down
playing I-Spy
and First to See the Sea,
a glimpse of greyness
behind skeletal pine trees

Mr Whippy hands
us strawberry mivvis
from the window in his van,
their slick red coats
drip sticky blood over our fingers

in a camp of towels
and folding chairs on the
cannon-ball round pebbles
behind the breakwater
we take cover from the
wind’s barrage

over the ribbed sand
of no-man’s land we walk
to the sea’s sting on the toes,
the wade out and the brave
breath, then the plunge into steely cold

we run back on numbed legs
to a brisk towel-down,
the shell-shock shivering
comforted by thermos tea
and salmon paste sandwiches
the sea claws its way back,
slipping quietly over the sand,
then massing in wave after wave
to mount its assault on the shingle
we fling useless stones into the breakers
thunderously detonating on the beach
deafened by the bombardment
we fall back

and are brought home,
silent and still
in the back of the Cortina,
dead to the world.

© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved