On Hove beach
It was the night after the tornado
had torn the roof off Patrick Moore’s observatory.
The wind still coming from the south-west
drove the waves onto the beach,
shifting the tons of stones and shingle
that prompted an American tourist to ask
why we put such things on our beaches, why not just leave them as sand?
The esplanade, covered in parts with the stones,
in others cleared by people who possibly realise that their actions are futile
but who return the stones and other debris to the beach
only to come back the next day,
and the next to find that others have taken their place.
Me, I help them in their task by firing the odd shot,
with left or right, then turning to celebrate the goal alone.
Or, throwing into the foam of another wave,
unable to hear anything save the relentless wind and surf.
A creel lies at the foot of some steps, above the water for now,
broken in places and barely held together by its net meshing.
Further along the beach a couple of anglers stand watching their lines,
their light stronger than the three-quarter moon waxing towards completion,
only to topple over towards darkness in a few days.
Fish-heads and cuttlefish bones mark high tide against the sea wall
mixed in with the seaweed, food for the beach,
the stones which can only shrink, will never grow up, only older
until they become sand, to satisfy the American tourist.