An ebbing curtain reveals the beach.
The stage is set and slowly
the sun lures the actors to their places.
Mam with buggy, toddlers and towels
looks daggers as dad carries his new kite.
Three lads eye the talent
and slyly admire their own
Ageing skin greets the sun's warmth
like sunflowers - angling deckchairs
for a full blast of rays.
A woman goes topless;
Boys stare, so do dads.
get mistaken for leather-backed turtles
Weekday scowls turn to weekend smiles, eyes twinkle.
A game of footie collapses in hysterics
as Fatbelly chases a lost cause of a ball,
trips over an excited dog
and crashes into the sea.
A child squeals excited as the crab
her brother caught glides across her hand
and back into the rock pool.
Ice cream drizzles down chins
Sandwiches fill with sand.
Bronzed kids leap at the waves,
grandmothers raise their saris in the shallows
as they bring a new generation to baptise.
Everyone pisses in the sea.
No laptops, no desks, no rules.
But no-one steals as clothes, shoes and towels are left for hours
no-one invades the next family's space.
Everyone respects our common law, our unwritten rules -
rules that don't need parliamentary assent
or a special council by-law.
Children share their shrimp haul, make new friends
in dinghies nobody seems to own,
invent a new country to impress new friends,
Invent a new past.
A whiff of vinegar and candyfloss reminds the happy horde
of the funfair and beach cafés - across the prom
from their beach. No commerce
breaches the golden sands save
for the donkey rides and trampolines -
donkeys old enough to remember the parents
still gently lope up and down.
The garish waltzer's noise dies
on the sea breeze.
No suits, no stripes, no status to these bronzed bodies.
Now the tide rolls back in.
The boys and girls traipse off to the pub and chippy -
flushed by the sun and the chance of pulling.
Families migrate to the quay to watch
the lobster pots get emptied.
Old couples still slumber in their cars,
in their cardies.
The beach retreats, the tide scours it clean
til tomorrow, when the
happy anarchy will return.