Pale shards of semi-whiteness across the river mouth:
thin cranes and looming gantries of the docks.
Against them, a brighter whiteness,
a lighthouse layered in sharp focus on its rocks,
the causeway a line of dark in the murky sea,
gulls following in case scraps were left behind.
An unrenovated fort stands
(proud as the lighthouse), sand
beneath, the strip decreasing with the rising tide.
Children, crowded on the shrinking beach,
pull small dogs in and out of lapping waves
or scramble barefoot, risking a spiked ending to the day
on boulders that keep the invading sea at bay.
A small yacht motors calmly towards the open water,
heading for the mists,
a noisy boat pulls a smaller one
in looping spirals round
the lighthouse just for fun
and there are shrieks of fright
while shuffling figures watch
from a pontoon
moored by a buoy that guards the channel
in case a ferry should go astray.
Crowds, shops, cars
as the eye can see.
to find a space and then
for toilets or a drink,
or sandwiches that by the time the queue has gone
have vanished too.
Shaking the sand off our feet
and clutching a picnic we steal away
further along the coast and round the headland.
Turning south we reach
a long flat beach,
by now almost to the horizon.
A few dogs chase each other or a thrown ball;
a car braves the boat ramp
driving in crazy rings
near the sea wall.
The crowds have stayed
near the shops and ice cream vans.
Here there is loneliness and space,
only a few miles away.
We eat, watching a huge stretch of
spread out to a charcoal smudge of what might be
A horse thuds past,
cantering against the sky.
Could we ride, we wonder,
all the way out to Ireland
if we were foolish enough to try?
I don’t usually post two poems in a row but this was an immediate reaction to a lovely day out, and needed to be posted while the date was still appropriate. Dedicated to Flair, who showed me round The Wirral, and whose birthday is this week.