New Year’s Day on Brighton Pier

That Hogmanay, that blissful distant winter

Along by Brighton Pier, we went to wander.

Resolutions made, we roamed on, rambling

Past the hulks of trundling traffic rumbling.

With no breath of heavy weather brewing,

Sea was millpond still, with no wind blowing;

Mild midwinter sun, echoing summer,

Sparkled on the swell, all silken shimmer.


Squawking seagulls dived down to the water

Filching fishes, feathers faintly wetter.

Glistening golden glints, all glorious glimmer,

Gave the rusting rails a glimpse of glamour.

On the waveless water, ever flatter,

Sloped the sloops whose sails refused to flutter,

Sleeping after last night’s midnight revels

Still too tired to race against their rivals.


Lounging by the shore lazed last night’s lovers,

Dying to detox their loaded livers,

Dulled by drink and drugs in disco’s cellars;

Loose limbs leather clad, with studded collars,

Peacock punks tattooed, with nose and earring:

Nightbirds in an unaccustomed airing,

Bolstered by the brassy bingo caller,

Gave the seafront scene a clash of colour.


Startled by a chill, (a sudden shadow

Came from scudding clouds and made us shudder)

Craving comfort, we crept to a cafe,

Keen to quaff some cappuccino coffee

Topped with sifted chocolate from a caster.

As we sipped, we watched the roller-coaster.

Ground Brazilian beans just newly roasted

Teased our tingling tastebuds as we rested.


We spotted on the shore, picking through pebbles

Five foolhardy folk who feigned to paddle

Then, as rays returned to make it hotter,

A bold adventurer, or mad as a hatter,

Into the depths one dived. This braver bather

Much to our amazement, with no bother,

Heedless of the chill, in icy polar

Currents, swam round the pier’s brown pillars.


Strengthened now, we soon resumed our saunter,

Gazing at the gambler’s gaming centre,

Where the punters played: lank lads and lasses

Giggled at their gains and laughed at losses,

We jostled by the gypsy fortune-teller

Whose Tarot tales became forever taller.

Hurrying by those hats with “Hallo Sailor”

We reached the ever-hopeful ice-cream seller:


January seemed the strangest season;

Mildness made us make our odd concession

To give in to that mad moment’s testing

With that flake-topped frozen tempter tasting:

Mine vanilla; you had rum and raisin

Flavour, for whatever rhyme or reason.

It seems strange in this event’s re-wording:

Still the memory remains rewarding,


Savours of that cold concoction linger;

Many lesser joys have lasted longer.

Like, when later on, we gobbled dinner

At the famous, sea-front Buddy’s diner.

Now when, in old age, the reaper beckons

Pictures of that place will shine like beacons

And, when other tints are long forgotten,

We’ll recall that day in vibrant Brighton.

new year

◄ View from a steamed-up bus window

Aurora ►


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Gray Nicholls

Sat 31st Dec 2011 18:59

know Brighton pretty well - this really sums up the area to me a lot. Excellent.

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Dave Bradley

Sat 31st Dec 2011 11:07

Hi Richard. I liked this a lot. So vivid and well observed. Some stand-out lines including

Glistening golden glints, all glorious glimmer,
Gave the rusting rails a glimpse of glamour.

I hung round Brighton a bit myself in my teens, with a cousin, and it all came flooding back. Thank you!

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