It’s hot as a blacksmith’s forge.
A Union Jack droops at the end of its tether,
A sloughed skin.
Of fingers toying with architecture
Belong to the Lord of the sandcastle.
Ancient slots in the rocks
Fill with today’s Channel.
The sea is wide and blue.
Everyone faces the water
As if expecting Neptune
To step ashore, bringing a lobster grill on a silver tray,
With lemon sorbet for afters.
A little girl, her bum two scoops of flour,
Looks down surprised
At two new sea-spray anklets;
Curtains of flaxen hair dropp round her cheeks
Half boy, half fish,
Up to his belly button in delight,
A splashing toddler tries to quell the ocean.
It is on its best behaviour,
It is showing its Sunday face
When bells and drums fall silent in their cases,
When pipes and fiddles return to reeds and staves,
When night shuts evening’s eye, down Jacob’s ladder
Will Moon send pearls and silver into the waves
To hire the piper who plays a lullaby,
Soft and gentle as wings that hush and hover,
Cool as milk that slips down a girl’s white thigh
An hour after the act of passion’s over?