not exactly summer

canal scene

Today hasn’t really been autumnal – much too grey and drear, where autumn should be all russet, yellow and rich earth tones. And of course the nights are drawing in, so the curtains have been drawn and the lights have been on for hours: it might be winter already.

So maybe it’s a bit odd to post a summer-like photo, even if it was taken only two weeks ago. But I thought it would be good to have something slightly less floral for a change, and I wanted a final glimpse of summer before it had passed completely out of mind.

In my family there’s a tradition that for it to be a real holiday you have to have an ice-cream, sit by the water, and go on a boat trip. I suppose two out of three’s not bad, even if the ice-cream was a 50p special from the gas station, where they were clearly trying to clear out the freezer before the season was entirely over and the water was only the local stretch of canal.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the Sunday afternoon sunshine: I watched two family groups feed the ducks, and one small dog who looked as if he thought the ducks should be fed on.

dog watching ducks on the canal

And now I hope I’ve got you thinking about summertime, so let’s have a couple of old seaside poems:


Gulls wake and scatter in the light,
a bickering, boisterous crowd
that shrills and screams a stream
of sardine-breathed fishwife’s abuse.
Loud roisterers, they gust and squall; they roll
and raunch on drums of swelling air, scrabble
for stale bread, scrimmage and squabble
over scraps and fish-heads.
                                                                 Far off
and almost out of sight, a single silhouette
slides down a banister of blue
as clear as thought.



Listen to the sea:
what tales does she tell?
what tall tales does she tell of foreign shores?

Listen to the sea:
what does she whisper?
what secrets does she whisper into shell ears?

Listen to the sea:
what yarns does she spin?
what strange yarns does she spin to the sand on the beach?

Listen to the sea:
does she lie, does she nag, does she joke?
does she gossip, flatter or charm?

I listen, but the sea
says nothing,
only waves.


Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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