Wembury Beach - Poem by David Shoestring
How jolly it is still on Wembury beach
To see bright waters lit with sun,
And proud parents shine with glee,
Watching their noisy offsprings run,
And chased, splash with shrieks
Into the frothy, slippy sloppy sea.
Many were the timeless, childhood summers spent
At Sherford Road, from where on Sundays we went,
Packed in Uncle’s Alfred’s Ford Consul, two by two,
And driven sedately down to the blue,
Blue remembered summer sea,
Phillipa, Andy, Peter and Me.
We drive past Wembury Post Office and local shop,
Where we stopped once, I remember
To buy a bottle of pop,
And I saw hanging there, three or four
Brightly coloured Beach Balls
In a net beside the door.
And outside the shop, dangling from overhead brackets,
Cricket bats and tennis racquets
In many colours; each made from plastic
And attached to a ball by a length of elastic.
Can I have an ice-lol, or a penny bar of choc?
Aunt Miriam says I must be careful;
I’ve only brought one frock.
We bounce down narrow winding lanes
Clutching bags of newly purchased sweets,
Sitting on soft coil-sprung upholstery
And slippery leather seats.
Gnarled hedges, wild grown and Devon high
Stretch up to a blue, blue summer sky,
Hiding from our young eyes the sight
Of distant moors to the left, or the sea on the right.
Not seeing perhaps,
But knowing still where we were soon to be;
Dancing excitedly on rock-strewn sands,
Beside the frothy, slippy sloppy sea.
Down, down towards a sheltered half-moon bay,
Past lime washed stone built cottages
Shuttered fast against the storms.
Down to little Wembury Church,
Shepherding on the beach below, the silhouetted forms
Of tiny fishing boats, which congregate and stand
Embedded in a ring of tidal sand;
Upturned, the unsighted hulls point towards the sky;
A sand encrusted starry-gazey pie.
And always, the wretched, anguished cry of gulls
Swirling high above the fishing boat hulls.
As from the Church we look out and see once more
The Mewstone, bathed by a languid, sun speckled sea.
And below on the beach, children playing, just as we,
In the wet gritty rock strewn sand,
Beside the frothy, slippy sloppy sea;
Phillipa, Andy, Peter and Me.
© David Shoestring
Poet's Notes about The Poem
For those unfamiliar with England’s geography, the village of Wembury is near to Elburton, a suburb of Plymouth and very close to the south coast of Devon, and where my wife Carol spent many happy summers with her cousins at their house in Sherford Road. This poem is written for Carol and her cousins, Phillipa, Andy and Peter.
Revisiting recently, it is wonderfully reassuring to see that so little of the landscape has changed in this tiny corner of the world, and that the same simple pleasures exist for the children playing on the sands, and for their proud parents that ‘shine with glee’.
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