Turning the tide

Big yellow machines
Crawl over the shingle
Like an armoured division
On a seaside day out;
A Tonka Toy D-Day
Securing the beachhead
Advancing westwards
Ten tonnes at a time.

Shifting and shaping
Loading and levelling
Leaving their track-treads
Ribbed in the stones;
Taking dominion
Imposing order
Shoving the longshore drift
Into reverse.

Yet as they labour
Grey-green waves gather
Freighted with foam
And the weight of the world;
Undertow churning
Breaking in thunder
Laughing at diesel
Hydraulics and steel.

Haul down the standard
Hand in our weapons
Know when we’re beaten
Withdraw from the field.
Or dig in deeper
Shore up our defences
Think of our loved ones
And fight to the end?

 
 

A couple of weeks ago, I took a ride to Seaford on the Sussex coast, where the local authorities are engaged in one of their periodic attempts to redistribute the beach shingle, which the sea relentlessly transports from west to east in a process known as longshore drift. Even as the phalanx of heavy machinery toiled, a powerful westerly drove huge waves against the beach, underscoring the ultimate futility of the endeavour. I was a boy once, so I enjoyed watching it all and wanted to write about it: it took me until yesterday to make the election connection. N.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.