The Fo’c’s’le Inn, Combe Martin

Before the castle, a curious cove.

Slate slabs spike from right and left

pointing fingers at the tide’s temerity

in trying to erode and erase, and man

has tamed the waves’ break. Look! A wall

of slate has half-enclosed a pool

where, twice a day, a placid pond

appears and timid swimmers test

their limits. When the waters wane

new worlds appear in hidden hollows.

Trapped sea-beasts cannot evade

the spade and bucket, scoop and net.

Yet I prefer to stare through glass

the pass and repass as the creeping

saline seeps toward the terraced

tourists on their picnic benches.

I have not the strength to stride

to where the tide is waiting. Let it

come to me! I’ll greet its reaching

arms with just my feet. Eleven

years I’ve dreamed of frigid foam

surrounding skin. Too soon to charge

into the wet, but not to shuffle,

sluggish, over shingle, smiling

at the treat to come, the reek of weed

as lapping liquid licks my toes.


First published in Reach Poetry



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