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idylls of Rosebud (1 Viewer)


Friends of WF
Blanket of sand scrubbed by night’s tears
ready for feet to map sunlit adventurers,
a place for mothers to relinquish control
to these safest of waters: shallow sea,
gentle ripples, thirst quenched over eons
licks a child’s ankles, sometimes the knees.
A seaside flocked by holidaying seagulls
who strut in new bathers, flick faded towels,
rest beneath brightly coloured umbrellas;
ideal place for young bodies – the older seek
the back beaches, listen to large waves scream
of freedom in every sea-raised fist that smashes
upon forlorn, pitted rock; stranded Odysseus,
separated by years, not wax and rope,
from the headland community once theirs.

Flecks of flounder flash silver in the shallows,
searched for by torchlight at night, smoothed wood
with nails roped to secure, gripped in small hands,
enough to spear miniature fish that in the realms
of children are as wild and ready as shark or orca.
Plenty of toadies too, those foreshore braggarts
who carry a bloated belief poison will protect,
the pier is littered with their flopping dreams
that ebb away to leave behind crusty scales
and eyes that see only what has been left.
Sometimes three or four children pause, silent
before a fresh scene of death, stare down
at the bloated caricature of oceanic freedom
facing a fate they are vaguely aware of, watched
with an angel’s patience by weathered old men
with thin blistered lips bemused by the meeting.

The wind blows, upsets the sand for hours and days,
takes fragments, hurls them into eyes and ears;
each morning the beach is the same in all directions
yet unique for every single discarded footprint.
Spade and buckets carry sand and water
for castles, moats, rivers and buried bodies;
a hundred heads rest, stare at shuffling feet
below the surface bodies writhe, wreak havoc
until sand caves in; the whole thing repeats.

For hours I swam in that water, day after blue sky day,
roasted black and tender with salt,
language forgotten, stories imagined,
crashing one into the other until mother’s voice
demanded a return to boyhood, standing at the edge
she holds a towel, smiles, remembers, I suppose,
her own trips as a child, the games played
in the same waters of Rosebud.