At The Beach

Across the sand sprawls
the narrow river from its
winding course to the sea.
Salt laden sea winds buffet
a cluster of cottages in the
shelter of ragged ageing
macrocarpa trees.

We enjoyed several summers
in the end one. Boards cracked
and warped by sun and wind
shed flakes of paint in every
wind blast, rust crumbs flew
from the corrugated iron roof.

Inside, chipped painted hardboard
lined the walls, chips peeled off
the linoleum’s hessian backing.
Above the kitchen bench shelves
held mismatched cups, glasses, plates.
Below the drawers held equally
worn cutlery and utensils.
Sagging beds and bunks with
thin battered pillows lay under
thin worn blankets and a
film of windblown sand.

At low tide we dug on the
beach for cockles*, at high tide
we caught small fish  from the dinghy.
We climbed trees, followed tracks
found caves under rocky overhangs.

At nights we slept soundly
to the sound of wind, waves
and the rattling of dusty sand.

*cockles: known in some countries as “clams”.

At The Beach