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06 The Hand of Hope July 2009
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03 On the Street Where I Live April 2009
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01 Climbing Through February 2009
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Write Out Loud
06 September 2012
On the Waters of the Earth & Coney Island
The liquid source
Of all life
The third spheroid
From the Sun
Meets Coney Island Beach
In southern Brooklyn
A real Bugs Bunny
Was made extinct
By Euro gluttons
Who loved rabbit stew
We return now
To the ocean
Consider its obvious
The eternal rhythm
Of its waves, and tides
Making their compromises
With the land
Between motion, and inertia
Of the life cycles
And infinite variety
Of Earth’s first citizens
Of self-illuminating dwellers
On or near the bottom
Of neon neudibranchs
And clown fish
With their partners
The many armed sea anenomes
And the rest of the coral reef crew
And all of those folks
The real dreamscape
That are all oceans
Have to depend
On the sporadic concern
Of selfish, sloppy
And cruel creatures
Such as ourselves
© David Gordon
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
At the Waterside
Along the edges of the Conykeest (a.k.a. The East River)
Beautiful waves of water flowing beneath your eyes
Trees and leaves into the summer skies
Here I sit in these precious moments of seabreeze
At 113th Street like a ship upon to the sea
Listening to Duke Ellington’s holy songs
Satin Doll at Sunset
A sound of joy as the mighty river roars in seven levels
With fish and chips at Waterberry
© Carlos Raul Dufflar
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
Light beige, flat, wet slab of ground.
Silver strands threading through waves.
In surreal solitary space, dark square shapes
Reflect in smooth, moon-grey water.
Visual, special effects.
Footprints in the sand,
a sign of life for just a minute.
waves wash them away,vanished gone forever.
White frothy foam,
dances on aquamarine water
ripples decrease into nothingness,
until waves reappear.
The sky bows down,
to meet the majestic ocean.
under the water a life of darkness,
where creatures swim looking for bait,
through tangled seaweed, and swarmy grains.
A world unknown to human life,
A place I'd like to meet.
HARRY’S DREAM HOLIDAY
Little nine-year-old Harry Craddock suddenly woke up. Excitement gleamed in his grey eyes, which widened like saucers. Not only was the sun shining outside his bedroom window, but it was also Tuesday 24th July 1973, the school holiday period.
“Okey dokey!” Harry shouted as he leapt from his bed, changed out of his pyjamas into a yellow t-shirt and his favourite pink flared jeans, with a blue embroidered seahorse on each leg, before shaking his blonde hair until it fell tidily into place.
But this excitement was cut short as Harry noticed that something wasn’t quite right. Not only had his room appeared smaller, and the furnishings cheaper and modern, but his globe, dangling model of a fighter plane, teddy bear, and Airfix space rocket had completely disappeared, not to mention the football team printed curtains, bed linen and wallpaper being replaced by chintzy flowing fabric, sickly lime green blankets, and magnolia paintwork.
Sinister forces were definitely at work as Harry, leaving his bedroom, discovered that there was no staircase or banister to slide down, not even a coat stand to crash into at the bottom.
This sudden bout of bewilderment soon changed as Harry, after entering the adjacent living room, spotted, on the garish orange settee, numerous swimming costumes, a blown up inflatable multicoloured ball, and buckets and spades.
Yes! Harry was on holiday in the Devon seaside town of Excombe, eight hours, two train changes and a bus journey away from his north eastern hometown of Darlsbrough.
The only thing that hadn’t changed was the normal homely breakfast set-up. Harry’s sister Maureen, with long brown wavy hair, was stood up, donning a blue denim jacket and hot pants, in front of a long vertical mirror, holding a blaring transistor radio in one hand, and a lighted cigarette in another.
Mum, who was stood in the tiny attached kitchen, straightened her blue and red squared patterned skirt (the colours clashing with the green and orange floor tiles), before throwing two rashers of bacon into a frying pan, the loud sizzling sound nearly drowning out Suzi Quatro’s ‘Can the Can’.
Dad, who was sat at the table, tightened his knotted handkerchief, before lowering his newspaper. And like any other ordinary breakfast, all eyes were upon Harry, except for those of the green faced lady and the weeping boy, who were hundreds of miles away back home, trapped behind glass frames, gathering dust.
“What?” snapped Harry, as he walked over to the table to sit down, before pouring sugar puffs into a bowl, some of which fell onto the Formica top.
“You know what!” said Mum angrily, who had just cracked two eggs into the same frying pan as the bacon, some of the hot lard splashing against the lenses of her glasses. “Upsetting your Grandma Flo yesterday evening.”
“Why? What happened?” asked Maureen, who was now dancing to Slade’s ‘Skweeze Me Pleaze Me’.
“If you spent more holiday time with your family, instead of gallivanting about with your new friends,” snapped Dad, “then you’ll know what happened.”
“Apparently,” explained Mum, as she served up the bacon and eggs onto a plate, “the telly went off after ‘Crossroads’ had just started. I sent Harry out to get some change, but because he was riding about on his bike, the time we eventually got to put money into the meter, the programme had finished.”
“Where is Grandma Flo?” asked Harry, finishing the last of his cereal, before throwing the spoon into the bowl.
“Gone to complain to the warden about the meter,” replied Mum, walking over to the table to give Dad his breakfast, before sitting down to butter a slice of toast.
The Craddocks finished their breakfast in peace, oblivious to the sight, outside the living room window, of an elderly woman, donning a duffle coat and hair net, chasing a small man, with her umbrella, his pleas for help drowned out by the smacking of lips and scraping of cutlery clashing with Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Get Down’.
The Craddocks left their chalet, one of many small white washed single storied buildings joined together into rows, all similar in architectural design, split apart by walk ways, which seemed to endlessly span for eternity. So vast that it gave Harry an excuse for being lost, when he arrived back late with change for the meter, wandering aimlessly in a soulless desert full of Austin Allegros and Ford Capris.
The Craddocks finally arrived at their destination; the holiday park swimming pool, which was a hive of activity. A cavalcade of colourful swimming costumes, the wearers, of different age groups, were either sat at tables around the pool indulging in glasses of fizzy drinks, or swimming, splashing, floating, and playing water polo with inflatable beach balls.
Dad sat down and finished reading his paper. Mum made a start on her knitting. Maureen took off her denim jacket and laid down on a yellow towel right next to the pool, oblivious to the wild stares of nearby teenage male counterparts. Grandma Flo finished her milk stout, before taking a nap, waking only to give a young kid, who had just splashed her, a hard stare.
“Not taking a swim, Harry lad?” said Dad, looking over his newspaper.
“No!” replied Harry, rubbing his eyes. “I’m too tired. I’d rather ride about on my Chopper bike.”
“Here!” said Mum, who had just taken fifty pence out of her purse, placing it in Harry’s hand. “And don’t go spending it all in the amusement arcades.
Harry started to feel awake as he rode downhill, on his bike, towards the seafront.
“Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!” he excitedly cried at the top of his voice, as fields, an old church and a farm, hedgerows and trees, separated by stone bricked walls, which seemed nothing but a passing blur. “Okey dokey!” he screamed out loud, letting go of the pedals and raising his legs outwards, before suddenly braking at some traffic lights, which had just turned red. “Ooooooooooh!” he cried, as his groin collided with the gear stick, after sliding off the seat.
But it wasn’t this brief moment of pain that had disturbed Harry, for as the lights turned green, a car passed him, in the back of which sat a girl, about Harry’s age, with hair tied into two bunches, donning a pink ruffled dress.
“It can’t be!” thought Harry, before getting distracted by the beeping horn of a vehicle behind.
For it was this girl that resembled Veronica Dribbleswaite, that very girl, who was always following Harry around, pestering and embarrassing him in front of his friends and family.
Harry quickly shook his head, as if to erase the girl from his mind, and continued cycling towards the seafront, the sound of seagulls becoming increasingly louder as her rode through narrow streets housing an array of antique shops, cafes, fish and chip restaurants and souvenir shops, until he reached his final destination.
“It’s like being in a flaming Enid Blyton novel,’ thought Harry, the excitement draining out of him as he observed nothing but rocky beaches and boating quays, sandwiched between rolling tree covered hills.
Harry spotted a kiosk, and rode over to order an ice cream. Whilst waiting to be served, he looked around him, spotting a crowd of people crossing the road, one of which resembled Veronica Dribbleswaite, who was skipping along, eating candy floss.
“Can I help you, young man?” asked the Kiosk attendant, who had interrupted his dreamlike observations.
“Doesn’t matter!” replied Harry, as he moved away from the queue to spot that the girl was no longer part of the crowd. Mounting his bike, Harry rode across the road and through a park with a neatly kept lawn, and colourful flower beds, before reaching the bottom of a steep hill, which he struggled to ride up.
Harry stopped at a view finder. Inserting five pence into the slot, he observed the whole town, a multitude of different shaped and coloured structures, symmetrically positioned on a hill. The time limit had ran out as he moved the view finder down towards the park, only to discover Veronica Dribbleswaite doing cartwheels. Harry rapidly searched his jean pockets for another similar coin, only to find the fifty pence piece his mother had given him.
Suddenly, the whole ground shook, vibrating beneath Harry’s feet. After trying to maintain his balance , after falling from his bike, he tried to run for cover, but the more he pushed forward, the more he was pulled back. The whole ground behind him appeared to be sucking inwards. Panicking, Harry dug his fingers into the soil, trying to clamber up the now steep surface. His bike came crashing down upon him as the mound became steeper, hitting him and knocking him unconscious.
A short while later, Harry woke up to a wall of darkness, and a deafening silence. He felt something cold and heavy upon him. Discovering, via touch, that this, through the feel of cold steel and warm rubber, was his bike, he reached for the pump, which doubled as a torch. Switching it on, Harry shone the object around him.
The entrance to which he had come through was blocked, so the only way out was forward. Harry slowly, but warily made his way through the snaking winding tunnels. In one sense, he was quite excited; in another, he was afraid for fear of being trapped forever in the never ending labyrinth. The once deafening silence was now split by the echoing drip dropping of water from the cave ceiling above, now drowned out by the gushing sound of flowing water.
Harry made his way through the shallow underground river, which flowed into his trainers, soaking his socks, making his feet feel squelchy. Suddenly, Harry nearly tripped as his foot descended into what appeared to be a hole. He tried to release his foot, but the more he tried, the more his ankle started to swell. The water started to rise, finally reaching his neck. Harry stretched out and up as the water entered his mouth, causing him to choke and spit.
Harry suddenly felt someone grab hold of his arms, pulling them upwards. He felt his foot being released from the hole, before being pulled further upward, seeing daylight and hearing the sound of muffled voices. He finally reached the surface, gasping for breath. As he was placed on the surface, by the water, Harry felt he was in familiar territory, surrounded by recognisable faces.
“What happened?” asked Harry, as he got his breath back.
“You fell asleep, and walked into the swimming pool,” said Dad, who was relieved.
Harry, closing his eyes, laid back, smiled, and let off a large sigh of relief.
Suddenly, he felt someone kiss him on the lips. Quickly opening his eyes, Harry saw Veronica Dribbleswaite, who was donning a ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hat.
“Hello Harry!” she sloppily said.
“Oh no!” exclaimed Harry.
STRANGER ON THE SHORE
He is still wearing his Burtons demob suit,
even though this is 1952 & he is supposed
to be on holiday. He stands here every day
for an hour or two, in between breakfast or
lunch or tea, among the rocks, away from
the deckchairs & donkeys, the fishermen.
His wife has one of those deckchairs, his kids
given money & warning, “Don’t bother Daddy”.
As if they would - they know certain subjects
are off-limits, from fragments overheard
when their uncles come round, know better
than to ask what he might be looking out for.
Like Mum, they know little of his War history,
except some of it happened in North Africa,
some in Italy, but the rest, “that’s Classified.”
They do not know, and never will, that he was
a Commando, and that his best mate died
in an Operation to mine U-Boats in Norway.
Now, in the bracing air of Robin Hood’s Bay,
where his wife is thinking Butlins next year,
he spends his time looking towards Norway,
as if a U-Boat might surface at any moment.
At times like this, he is a stranger to himself,
his wife & kids, and anyone who comes near.
Word for Word
Oh I do love to be beside the seaside
Oh I do love to be beside the Seaside
I like to take the kids on some of the Rides
I love to spend the day on the beach
I can hear the children as they play and screech
The beach is full of colourful towels and deck chairs
And everyone is summer clothes or swim wear
Ladies lying on towels topping up their sun tans
Its paradise with sparkling blue sea and golden sand
I have to make sure the children have plenty of sunscreen
They don’t like it so I bribe them with ice cream
They run shouting to me to join them into the inviting sea
Its lovely mum they scream with delight, on a day like this I have to agree
As I enter the water for a refreshing swim
Its exercise as well, it beats going to the gym
After our swim we go and get some fish and chips
We eat them on the beach as we watch the ships
I love to walk along the promenade
Go into some shops and buy some postcards
I also have to buy the traditional rock
The sweet shops also have fudge by the block
I love to buy presents as souveniers
So I can look back and remember today we were here
Then its back to games in the blazing sun
Beach balls and buckets and spades provide them with such fun
The older ones play volleyball on the beach
The younger ones are too small, they just cant reach
For them out come the buckets and spades
They love to show off the sandcastles they made
They also love to collect seashells
Theyre very pretty but such horrible smells
The rock pools that the little ones love to explore
Theres no better place for them than the seashore
All too soon it is the end of the holiday
Time to return to our everyday ways
But as we leave I smile as the children I hear
Goodbye paradise see you next year
Before The Tide Doth Turn
Alone at night in vain pursuit
I stroll upon a dreamtime beach
Where countless shells reflect the light
From stars, save one, ‘tis out of reach
In spreading shoulders open wide
To span expanse of ocean's floor
Perchance to cause a rising tide
Which brings thee safely thence to shore
Espying mermaid’s warning light
Lest ships should founder out at sea
I hold my breath a thousandth time
Whilst falling down on bended knee
Come hither fill my empty heart
Pass o’er the waves on billowed sail
Fair trades that follow charted course
Set thee alight on shingled shale
Before the tide doth turn pray tell
Of yonder place from whence thou came
If then should catch the evening swell
Could’st leaveth here at least thy Name
I love living by the seaside. Standing on the beach staring out into forever while listening to the ebb and flow of lapping waves and whistling shingle makes me feel as free as the gulls flying above my head…
The sea often mirrors my moods. Listless and shimmering on a hot summers day it is as I basking in the sun skin aglow with perspiration.
Little can be seen peering into the black abyss at night. Yet standing on the shoreline I know my companion is there with me. Constant yet silent it becomes my link with loved ones now passed, who, though masked now from my vision, shadow my every move lighting my path safely as does the moonlight.
The seaside, just these words connect in my mind thoughts of holidays, sunshine and fun! Even when it is grey overhead raining and the ocean is colourless I am full of thoughts of how when summer returns this blank canvass shall once again be used to paint the hopes and dreams of thousands of locals and visitors alike.
Yes, I love living by the seaside.
It was Spring 1969,
when I met The Ocean
in my life.
it is somewhere
We ran, stumbled,
walked over dunes.
we are really
getting to see
It will be only dunes
and more dunes,
and no ocean.
Then there it was.
waves with white caps,
and more sand
to walk closer.
We danced, jumped,
hopped and pranced,
and recited a poem
by Czech classic,
in that time:
you don't care
about my grief.”*
It was an end
and The Ocean
was in England.
We rolled up
We backed off
and ran again,
into the Ocean.
Yes, it was
On the bridge
a group of people
three crazy Czechs
into The Ocean
in the end of May.
On a Sunday, in the summer,
My parents and I, with bucket and spade,
Would go to the station at South Tottenham
To get on the train for a day at the sea.
It would take an hour; chuffety chuff.
When we got to Westcliff we’d get off
And walk down the hill onto the prom.
That’s where they’d get their deck chairs from
To look out at the sea, the estuary,
While as for me, I put on my trunks;
Then with bucket and spade in my hand
I’d run down and play on the sand.
Then I’d go into the water;
Hear a shout, “Don’t go too far out.”
I took no notice; I couldn’t swim,
So I’d stand with the Channel up to my chin,
The water lapping all around;
Oblivious to sight and oblivious to sound.
Then I’d get out and get myself dried.
“My bucket is lost,” I invariably cried.
But my dad would have rescued it from the sand
So I’d stop my blubbing and hold it tight
Determined to take it home that night.
We’d then go off for fish and chips
At one of the restaurants under the arches,
Then go for a walk down to Southend
Where my parents would talk to people they knew
Who they met on the way, down for the day,
As a substitute for going away.
They’d buy me an ice cream in a cone
And then some tea before we went home.
At six o’clock we’d be back on the train;
In an hour and a half I’d be in bed
Feeling exhausted and pretty well fed.
Salted Tears of Joy
I spied a glistened heart shaped shell, when lapped by oceans ebb and flow
Its movement ‘twixt the strands of kelp, caressed my sole as I strolled by
With many more ahead, if I should wish to choose before I go
Yet once again my gaze was drawn, to loving form which caught my eye
Now cupped in hand I wondered of its journey, how it came my way
As briny formed in rivulets upon my palm in salted tears
From land afar or island home, I dared to dream of life this day
Wherein perhaps the feel of warmth as held, may banish all my fears
I lay upon the golden grains of sand which held my mind enthral
When glimpsing of a shadow formed by rays of light at water’s edge
A maiden fair did seem to me in hurry to escape my call
Perchance I heard intention of her longing, heartfelt, whispered pledge
In holding to my ear in hope of revelation for to find
A message shaped and carried on the breeze, contained within
Hands across the sea, in loving friendship of forever kind
Sculpted by Minerva’s kiss in verse, with strains of Menuhin
Richard Gildea, UK
The big wheels still there, though it’s a bit newer
And the trippers still come, though they are fewer
Once trains would disgorge them by the hundred
And they’d look around at the Cleethorpes wonder
Grab three penny cornets, and the sixpenny rides
Buy ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats they’d wear with pride
Lovers would walk along doe eyed, hand in hand
Kids with their parents played on the golden sand
The Seaside Bingo and folks playing on the slots
When you came her you knew what you got
There are donkey rides, fresh fish and chips
Donuts, candy floss and big red sugar lips
There’s still so much fun even in bad weather
I hope that our Cleethorpes goes on forever.
Grains of Life (Octelle)
The silent sand was in distress
Departed sea could not impress
No lonely tears could it cry
For the sun had baked it dry
No sparkle could it cajole
As spades dug deep, to its soul
The silent sand was in distress
Departed sea could not impress.
A Tantalising Taste
Barbeques and garden fetes
Home made cake on paper plates.
Cricket teas and homemade scones
Ninety-nines in ice-cream cones.
Ploughman’s lunch and ice-cold beer
Fish and chips sat on the pier.
Picnics and towels on beaches
Fresh strawberries, mmm juicy peaches.
Vine tomatoes & fresh dressed salads
Brass bands, radio, sunshine ballads.
But the dream is shattered from illusion
As one is rudely awoken by a buzzing alarm
To yet another in - house day, where clouds,
are gathered; and rain stops play!
Tides of Change
Barefoot on the sands
Eyes gazing into,
Each other’s souls
The love within
Two as one
Now as one
She stands alone
Into her lonely soul
The hurt within
At loves demise
The sea is calm today.
The weed slaps on the toe-bruising,
foot scouring rocks. I must get away,
and push off into what might be
enough depth; water taller than
tiptoe cradles me, like a mother
with salty hands. I kick out
within being held, my cancan
to that first feeling; water slops
to name the dance, but I have it
as breast stroke, as a baby’s caress...
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