I watched the turn of the tide,
fingers of water moving stealthily
round half-buried stones, never
retreating, ever creeping forward.

As they united they filled the pools,
a breath of fresh life to sea creatures,
whose long hours of waiting were shortly to end.
Soon the pools had filled and only the

tops of the rocks were revealed, slippery
as the seaweed, like brown bubble wrap
waved with the incoming water.
Now the edge of the sea reached the

sand, and the defiant castles,
bedecked with turrets and flags
crumbled without a murmur,
collapsing to become a gently flat mound

of sand.   And reaching the shingle, the waves
swashed and backwashed, rolling already
smooth stones to further roundness.
The packing up began on the shore,

wet sandy feet grated in sandals
costumes pushed into carrier bags.
rugs and knitting folded, the exodus began,
for a line of punk-green hair-like weed

along the sea wall showed where the
tide reached.   The lure of ice creams
and tea emptied the beach
except for a man throwing sticks for his dog.

The tide kept coming, pulled by a force
unknowing, uncaring, unaware of us.
As it always had done, and will do
for ever.

copyright Gillian Peall

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