SEASIDE TOWN IN DECEMBER Wendy Webb
(In memorium: Woolies, Cromer, 28/12/08)
Oh, the brooding of sea in December,
the lie of the land, the spread of the beach.
Oh, the gusting of wind-whipping storm-chill;
the leaning of lanes and labouring walks
at the panting and pungent warm-filling chips.
There’s ice cream to thrill; the last pick & mix.
Postcards and ice cream; but no pick & mix;
oh, the turmoil of closure: December.
To smart at crab pincers; wince-pinching at chips.
The lazing of land, grey crowd-freezing beach;
close buttoned-up coats and labouring walks.
Oh, lusty and wild: the Cromer pier chill.
Now this perishing cliff-topping vest-chill,
ice cream swirling layers of flesh pick & mix.
I’m labouring drafts from intimate walks.
Pummelling woollens, warm in December,
where grit’s in my eye and stray-stings down beach.
Oh, thank goodness for seaside fish & chips.
My layers dishevelled and stuffed like damp chips
into the café’s corners: East Coast chill
will keep them – jetsam – on my spreading beach
until, too full of grease and pick & mix,
pummelled woollens wrapped against December
to shiver out the door, now sick of walks.
I’m leaning into frozen steps. Night walks
soon dream my sleep into repeating chips.
All storms at sea and my grey face: December
that ghosts soft cliffs until new morning chill.
No seaside ice cream now. No pick & mix.
I am a whale marooned on driftwood beach.
Daydream no more. Let’s stroll along the beach,
enjoying garden cliff-top meandered walks
next summer. Then I’ll shop for pick & mix;
ice cream and candy floss; or fish & chips;
as I fast thrill to fairground rides or chill
to beer; to cafes, shops. Not in December.
Stores: like winter beaches; cafés serve chips.
Free seagull walks; all bargains; grey not chill.
No pick & mix in Credit Crunch December.
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