Seagulls

 

What she remembered was the sound of seagulls,

Not the burning eyes of the eager boy

She had come away with for a dare.

Harold. Yes, that was his name.

She could see he had it all planned out.

‘I’ve brought some,’ were his first words.

 

Frinton. She had gone there because that was where

Mum and Dad had spent their honeymoon.

Where she was conceived, almost certainly.

And it made a change from Canvey Island.

 

What she remembered was the sound of seagulls,

Not the let-down of the hotel’s musty sheets,

The drabness of the mist as they walked on the beach;

Not the stirrings of something which was –

Well, perhaps it was love but probably not,

And which she knew perfectly well would fade

Before the year was out.

 

What she remembered was the sound of seagulls,

Not the disapproving looks of the evening diners,

With pursed lips at the sight of her ‘hardly decent’ dress;

All nursing hangovers of lost world wars,

Inwardly waving little flags and flogging souvenirs

Of brave St George and dead Germans.

 

What she remembered was the sound of seagulls,

Not, even then, the prospect of a dwindling future,

Of marriage, to someone like this poor sap,

Of days full of ironing and screaming kids,

Husband home drunk and washing down his dinner

With the promise of her before she went cold.

 

There would always be the sound of seagulls.

 

◄ Streaker

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Comments

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Stephen Gospage

Tue 15th Jun 2021 08:05

Laura, Leon and Ray

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments. I'm pleased that the female perspective came across, Laura, and thanks for the kind words on that. In the end, as Ray says, there is a drabness to it and when I read it again, the poem feels bleaker and more pessimistic than I intended. Poignant, as you say, Laura, but with a sort of systemic sadness?. Perhaps there is something about slightly run-down coastal towns which bodes ill for the future. (No offence to anyone who lives in one!)

Leon - pleased to hear you fought off all the competing distractions and thanks for your encouragement!

Greg, Holden and Stephen A. Thanks for the likes.

Thanks once again to everyone for your support.

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raypool

Mon 14th Jun 2021 17:08

Such a good poem Stephen. I agree with Laura, and there is an innate understanding of the usual motivations. I was thinking a little of Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell in the drabness of it.
One of your best in my book.

Ray

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Leon Kamm

Mon 14th Jun 2021 12:55

Stephen, sorry this somehow slipped through the net on Saturday when you posted it - probably due to me being distracted by ironing and screaming kids. And being drunk of course.

Belatedly therefore, well done!

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Laura Taylor

Mon 14th Jun 2021 12:10

This is a cracker. Poignant, with an unusually empathetic female perspective written by a man (no offence, it's just that it usually misses the mark).

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