I’m travelling today – we are off to our friends’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party in Edinburgh and so posting is a bit of a tricky proposition. I’ve also been running a little over the last couple of days so my researches have been on the back burner.
Anyway, this week, until today, has been warm with a promise of summer and holidays. This puts me in mind of the beach, that haven for fun and frolicking. To arrive at the beach I have to travel (being a city boy) so first up it’s dear old Willy of South Birmingham
How heavy do I journey on the way,
When what I seek, my weary travel’s end,
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say
‘Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend!’
The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider lov’d not speed, being made from thee:
The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;
For that same groan doth put this in my mind,
My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.
There is a neat symmetry here, because Charli Mills, over at the Carrot Ranch, has posed us a challenge on futurism and my post (just shown to an adoring public!) looks closely at the same issue that concerned Shakespeare in his last line. Here Shakespeare’s views contrast sharply with my views – we should look for the joy in going forward and not dwell, for good or bad, in the past. Easy to say and when focusing on lost love not so easy to do.
And then we arrive. In my case, it was to a white strip of sand in the Caribbean. We holidayed for a week with other pale-skinned escapees from Europe and North America. A lot of money was spent to bring us here so as I lay in the shade with my good book I looked about and people-watched. The desperation in those others guests, to soak up as much as they could to ensure a return on their investment: the food, warmth, sun, cocktails, FUN. Never before had I seen such aggressive sunbathing – the energy expended to burn on a tan in those seven days was extraordinary. Hence this little sonnet of my own.
Sonnet of Sand
The Disco Junk thrums past, a rainbow
On the puckered sea. Rock-like skulls,
Guano iced, are parliament to trilling gulls
Eyeing the coral fish, flashing their tarty show.
Cinnamon frosted babies, paint the beach
With plastic spades; eyeless parents, basted
For spit roasting; happy to have wasted
Their nurtured cash on dark staining their peach
White flesh. Seven days of frantic relaxation,
Spent anxiously checking for zebra stripes,
Are reward for a year’s dead-eyed toil. Gripes
Are banned; they have their compensation
In the form of cheap booze-induced comas
And the first stirrings of a melanoma.