Swanage

Swanage

Terraced houses line the hills
down to the sea, where flights of gulls
circle, then land along the pier,
and the children sing Frère Jacques.

In summertime the tourists come,
letting their naked babies swim
close to the shore, amidst the foam,
and burn in the blistering sunlight.

Chip shop wrappers litter the road;
holidaymakers drink in the shade,
abusing the locals with drunken taunts,
forgotten the following morning.

Interlopers head for home;
Autumn frees this parochial town,
sweeping the valley with red and brown
like a wreath at a funeral service.

Out of season, winds blow cold;
rifts in the golden sand are healed.
Evenings close in; the light is dulled
and the children sing Frère Jacques.

 

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