SEA-SIDE MUM IN WINTER
Inside, the children play the game I bought
Suitable for ages eight to eighty.
Outside, declined as a player – do I seem older than eighty?
I walk the deserted beach – sleet numbing my face
Like grief.
The tide has left a scum – a dirty bathtub
(And I’ve told them so often “Swoosh the water when you pull
the plug!”)
But the bathers have long gone and it remains.
A few broken shells, sand encrusted, a whispy seaweed
And those soapy bubbles
(They left the soap in the water again, And I’ve told them and
told them!)
Somewhere a gull grieves as I stoop to pick up a sandy towel
(I always have to pick up towels!)
And I move on to clamber over the low breakwater
The gnarled grey wood salty with age.
I draw further and further from the children
But they, inside and warm
And warm inside,
Prepare to pass GO.

┬ęCopyright 1998
H. St. V. BEECHEY