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.