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Memories of Goring-by-Sea

The slick red coats
of strawberry mivvis
guard white ice-cream
and drip, drip their 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 plunge into
steely cold, the salt spearing
our noses like searing gas

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 arching combers
detonating at our feet,
deafened by concussion
we retreat - and the sea's roar
dims to a distant rumble
that sends us peacefully
to sleep dead to the world
in the back of the Cortina
all the way home.

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