It’s sea, in April, waking up,
so many benches, sparsely used,
wail plaintive gulls, no cones to swoop,
though joggers, dogs, some hardy shorts.
Far workmen, high viz, gaffer, tape,
close beat from the van radio,
completion of the season’s run,
chime scaffold pole, shrill buzz of drill.

So many wheels, trainspotters’ dream,
axils, mobility, wheelchairs,
those scooters, skaters, hounds reigned in,
crisp shade and shades, a fishing rod,
spruced B&Bs, bilingual names,
along the sweep, fresh shopfront paint.
Fresh doughnuts where salt air had reigned,
a sugar coating, marine scent,
Here Punch still under Judy wraps,
trips round the bay still anchored hut,
a low-tide pier on pleasure stilts.

The tide creeps up, not even laps,
a kiosk flag remains half mast,
the mourning glory now days past,
a prince, the duke, old Greece in Wales.
Past hibernation, life upstarts,
black railings stand like graveside guard,
a ratchet, wrench, some bawdy song,
a first ice-cream to tempt fly-past;
why has this spot spawned so much verse?

Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over ...more