A poem for #NationalPoetryDay 2017 – ‘Whitstable (A day at the seaside)’

Whitstable (A day at the seaside)

Today we woke up and the day had nowhere to go. 
No ready plan. No significant event. 
To see us through.

So we set off before lunch, on a hunch.
Just as a starfish sun
Prised apart stubborn clouds 
Lolling overhead – 
Lazy teenagers in unmade beds. 

We set off on a whim and a prayer,
With little heart and low expectation.
Joining the lines of sticky traffic 
Running clammy roads 
Over every hill.

On and on we went until we reached 
The muggy shore.
There to be greeted by a landlady, 
Shaping vowels and dropping aitches, 
Her mouth a net trawling for alphabet fish.

She gathered us up in her arms
To eat crab and chips in the cool shade 
Of a canopy. So vast 
I wondered if we were about 
To set sail.

Then, after lunch, we lingered on the beach
Awhile. To swim and skim
Flat stones towards
Skiffs skidding,
Just beyond our reach.

And lean against an old 
Timber groyne that lay resting in the midday sun.
A giant minute-hand
Of a disused clock,
Pebbles piled against it, seconds past.

We talked and laughed beneath
Swooping, squawking gulls
And a lone balloon trailing
A pigtail string of silver tears.
All purpose left behind.

Until it was time for us to go
The sea fizzing like pop
Around white marble feet,
The sand passing
Between our toes.

I am glad we had no plan today.

Simon Denegri
September 2017

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