Words again



I holidayed in the Caribbean, a resort holiday  that is far from my idea of fun but pandered to the children. This poem perhaps summarises my views on such ‘breaks’.

   Caribbean Holiday

 Cinnamon sand,

Bathwater warm seas.

A rocky cove, delicately whitewashed with guano.

A chorus of gulls,

Hectoring backbenchers all.

Languid fish

Predator free,

Tarty in their coral finery,

Flit with each wave and shadow.



A threatened afternoon shower,

Lurking out west,

Plays Grandma’s footsteps with us.

Dotted about, dolls house furniture, neatly ambiguous,

Gives form to our sense of free play.

There’s a theme-park perfection

To our brochure born dreams:

Delicate palm thatch sits on wood-effect cast steel struts;

Natural gardens of scarlet and lemon,

Are chemically sprayed in the pre dawn

To remove the sweet sucking locals

And maintain their garage forecourt perfection;

Somnambulant waves crunch constantly

On carefully constructed coralesque outcrops

Of concrete and clay.


Intelligent broadsheet readers,

Risk averse to their last mortgage repayment,

Strip to expose fields of white melanoma seeds,

For proofing in the fiery Caribbean sun.

Out here, once cynical plumbers and sceptical lawyers

Believe in miracle potions,

Sold by plc paid shamen

Sitting in concrete and glass.

They poach happily in the calypso heat

Confident in the protection of their chemist’s latest best

Anti-ultraviolet Kryptonite.

Baste, boil, burn, balm.

The daily mantra.

One day, in a break from the lullabying sun,

These successors to Speke and Burton

Hire a guide to explore this foreign country.

Such exotica, so much novelty, the frisson of new experiences:

The baked breadfruit and goat curry to eat,

Specially prepared by curious locals

(My aunt has a stall in Brixton: you know it?);

The glimpses of a bird life unique to this area

(Though the same species has now taken over our local park)

They explore the coral and come face to face with sharks and conger eels

(Through the medium of the glass-bottomed boat).

They will tell how they steeped themselves in this foreign culture,

Deep enough to fuel several dinner party boasts

And oft-repeated family anecdotes

But it is a mere gossamer’s touch

For they’ve paid for the inoculations

That this resort provides.

Later, the first grizzles

From their sand frosted charges

Keep them from sinking completely into

This closed-eye fiction;

Some deep ingrained part of Arnos Grove

Or Clapham remains alert

Amongst the beach buffet of bloated human roti,

Ready to move at the slightest whinge

With due Hampstead haste

To avert disaster,

Administer chastisement

And return, with reclaimed inertia,

To their sun beds.

Tucked to the side,

Away from adult sightlines,

Are the adolescent actors.

One side slyly, shyly struts,

Playground porn movie wannabees;

The other watches with faux indifference

Hiding lust and acne behind Boots best aviator shades.

Each retains its hard-wired instinct to avoid

The occasional, random tidal surge

Of parental interest.

A surfeit of Rum cocktails and jetlag

Releases their corralled hormones

From the constraints imposed

By uniforms

And maths

And suffocating supervision,

And gives 3D shape

To their flat screen, sweet sticky-sweat dreams.

 Onto this fired and febrile world

The creeping afternoon shower,

Delivering large wet dollops of reality,

Can’t come soon enough.



About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to Words again

  1. Ritu says:

    I’m loving the look Geoffles!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Most evocative, Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen Jones says:

    😀 That last photo is the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just spat my morning coffee all over the keyboard!


  5. jan says:

    “the beach buffet of bloated human roti” – oh my, such a descriptive way with words! ; 0


  6. I loved the poem with the ‘tarty’ fish and the chemically sprayed lawns! Was a bit scared of the dodgy looking bloke with the funny hat on though!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. noelleg44 says:

    You’ve gone Rasta! Cool locks! I guess a resort like that will do it to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Norah says:

    I do remember you commented earlier about preferring the grey skies of London. You didn’t seem to find much to your taste here. I don’t fancy those melanoma seeds either.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sacha Black says:

    I demand to see this hat at the bash next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. willowdot21 says:

    Love the photo, I am on a surprise Antigian holiday right now so the post made me smile!


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