Southwold Revisited (The Sound of the Sea)
A stroll on the pier in the pouring rain, not her best idea.
You can see Sizewell ‘B’ on a good day, she’d said.
I’d said, in that case, I was glad it was a bad one.
Her umbrella – free with ‘She’ magazine,
turns inside out. Another madcap idea
at the end of a pier when it’s blowing a gale.
We stand by the rail with its shiny brass plaques
in memory of loved ones, and contemplate our own
mortality; the sea, the sky. On a day like today,
they seem very much the same; grey on grey.
Were those tears on her cheek, or was it the rain? No,
she tells me. Merely an inscription she’d just read.
“The sound of the sea – yours for ever.”
Downbeat tacky anoraks trudge by; shaped by the drab
of the humdrum grind. I squeeze her hand.
We visit the lifeboat museum, lined with black
and white photos of black and white tides and times.
Everyone’s dream, to be saved from whichever ocean.
Myself, I loathe towns and cities; too static. Compared
with flux and reflux, the swish and the swash of the sea.
“We’d best be heading back. It’s getting late.
Fancy dropping anchor at Sole Bay?” Just as if
she read my mind. I could murder an Adnams.
That was the best idea she’d had. Beats a stroll
on the pier in the pouring rain … any old day.
Sole Bay Inn, with a lighthouse in its back yard –
beacon burning bright. Beckoning … beckoning.