Week 46 – Entries and results

Photograph by Chris Sims

week 46


Lots of submissions this time for the above photograph and from the shortlist the readers have chosen Not Quite Warm Enough to Swim by Sue Spiers. Thanks to everyone who entered and voted.

And so..  


And so to Summer time,

and the chance meetings

which make memory…the


“Do you remember when…?

Well that’s amazing!

Who’d have thought

that you would have known her…!


..be his cousin!”

..be the good friend of my good

friend all those years ago”..

..come from the same village,


..know the same pub,

..have the same breed of dog, or

went to the same school or met

at that Festival in whatever year it was.”


Layers of friendship begin again

as the generations go down and

the young take over from the old..


and summer slips into autumn and

winter waits for spring.

Angie Butler


Poem 2



Water surrounds us on three sides of the earth

The earth stretches beyond our vision

Vision is a gift given to very few

Few can see beyond the obvious

The obvious is all around on land and sea,

The sea  unfolds in puddles and waves

Waves splash and crash in sight and sound

Sound weaves into smell and touch

Yet we cannot touch the heart

The heart we all lose occasionally

Occasionally we find it in shell or pebble

Pebbles grow to searching

Searching for the heart of life

Life is searching


Anita Pinto


Poem 3



Straddling the almost nothingness

of surfboard and kitted out in wetsuits,

they’re self-silhouettes, liquorice-flicked.


Beneath them lies temptation,

its sea-swell lulling them to buoyancies:

the rise, the fall, the drift.


Waves are their bounty

as riding the incoming tide,

their faces recording their nowness –


the dare, the fun, the fear.

How profligately

they caress its crests,


their fingers raking the spume,

sifting its chilled veins, its sand,

its shell-shingle


to riddled stillnesses.

See how the beach greets them

where they towel their wetness down.


Try as they might,

they cannot wipe away

that salt-birth slick on their lips.

Roger Elkin


Poem 4

Oh for a Day at the Beach


“Look, Uncle Sid’s puffed out his chest—

Oh, he’s such an awful pest!”

Off he goes, strutting to the sea,

Laughing, calling, full of glee,

Waving at the pretty girls,

Shaking out his boyish curls.

“Ho, it’s the lifeguard’s life for me!

Now, ladies, can you not agree?”

Flourishing a surfboard,

Striding forward like a lord,

He does a show-off’s belly-flop:

Shouts, leaps up and does a hop.

Cries Aunty Rose, “Help! Sid, do stop!”

For wasps have spoiled her fresh jam tarts

And a jellyfish stung Sid in tender parts.

Oh, for a day at the beach!


“Aaaargh!” shrieks our little Mandy,

“All my sandwiches have gone right sandy!”

So Granddad sagely nods his head.

“You should have heeded what I said.

And Uncle Sid’s a silly fool

For diving in that shallow pool.

But let’s pretend he’s nowt to do w’ us.

There, our Mandy, don’t you fuss.”

Kids are crying, want to paddle—

Loud enough to make your brain go addle.

Oh, for a day at the beach!


While Billy sneaks behind the dunes

With our sweet Sally (eyes like harvest moons)

Mum’s gone red as Granddad’s best beetroot

Now that a crab has pinched her foot.

“That’s bad,” condoles Dad,

“But now who’s got me sunglasses?”

“So you can eye up all t’lasses,

I suppose,”

Sniffs Aunty Rose

(With a delicate blob of ice-cream on her cherry nose.)

Oh, for a day at the beach!


Seagulls, screaming, scoop the sky.

Wind’s turned chilly; tide’s running high.

Susie’s got the shivers;

Mandy’s crying rivers.

Cakes gone all manky.

Granddad with a hanky

Knotted on his head

And sleeping like the dead.

Flagged sandcastles are inundated.

“And now the whole day’s wasted!

Beach picnics are so, so over-rated!”

“And all that time we waited…!

Oh, just for a day at the beach!”


Lizzie Ballagher


Poem 5



Watching my boy

testing tiny toes,

cool water, scuttling crab,

hand reaches


past smooth black stone

grabbing the pink shell

claws meet child

and I am coming

arms open

towel ready

tears of discovery



Andy Scotson


Poem 6

Roll Up


Roll up the tinfoil sea,

But let sleep that warm lagoon,

Golden syrup memories,

Sequinned sand and lolling pool.


Tuft the sky with candy floss,

Let sunshine cherry lips through,

Her warm gaze cheering us on,

Lucky dips turning lips blue.


Sound the fanfare of summer

Jam all the roads to the bay

Status :’No facebook’ back then

Best of friends for just one day.


Pam Szadowski


Poem 7



Down, down to the sunburst sea,

Steady as barrow mounds,

Ferrous with age and lined and quick,

Where terrible emptiness frightens me.

Careful, watch for  the settling sea

Coming, soon to be washing

Waves and waves over me.


Follow, follow, and loose your hair,

Flowing as whale sounds,

Precious and strange and fine and thick;

Your earings are shells; essence like midnight air

Wearing. The ocean’s like maidenhair

Flowing; will you be bringing

Gifts gladly we can share?


Will you, will you, walk on the sand,

Barefoot hunting ground,

Perilous stage so soft we slip?

Here is the edge where we balance or find a hand

Holding, will it be yours? Stand

Still; soon the sea’s stinging

My face, ours. Leave the land


Lying, lying, cold and dry.

Out in the breeding-grounds

Terrors invite us, heretic

Animals come to us. Come to them! They’ll fly

With us, welcome us to the sea, to the high

Waters; There we’ll be singing

The sea’s song forever, never to die.


Michael Docker


Poem 8



Today it’s fine – real rockpool weather

shrimping nets, sandcastles

the coconut smell of suntan oil.

Change the clothes and it could

be Gran and Granda as children

buttoned up in victorian splendour.


Yesterday the pirate seas raged heedlessly

surfers young and strong and not so young

gazed glumly at the waves

too rough they said those tall tough blokes

too rough, we can’t go out today.

My grandson, aged three, wetsuited up

pulled us with him as he ran into the sea

making for the island across the bay.


Daphne Milne


Poem 9

Not Quite Warm Enough To Swim


I would have been happier

left in my room, reading,

but we were hauled to the beach

in the two door Triumph Herald,

me sat next to the picnic cooler.


When we arrived the tide was out

and the beach littered

with seaweed and exposed rocks.

Crabs and sand-flies nestled

in the dreggy pools of brine.


Undeterred we spread a blanket,

unfolded canvas deck chairs

that sunk into sand when sat on

and batted wasps away

from sandwiches and Smiths crisps.


Dad rolled up his trousers,

took off socks and sandals,

grabbed my hand to paddle,

skim stones over flat water

and collect dead cockle shells.


Against Mum’s better judgement

I wanted to go for a swim.

She stripped off my skirt and top

and I ran, in vest and pants,

to splash in chilly waves.


Mum held up the towel

to shield unbudded breasts.

I wriggled out of wet underwear,

cold and gritty with sand,

knickerless on the drive home.


Sue Spiers


Poem 10

School’s Out


The classroom’ s another world

books, tests, walls forgotten

passed like a dream of another world.


The sky a warm blue smiles it’s

promises of freedom,

time for swimming, sand, buckets

dipped into rock pools


the adventure of discovery –

a glimpse of magic,  wave washed

onto yellow sand. We run the surf


swim, paddle; sandwiches never tasted

better as we eat in a cliff shadow

as we lick salt


on tired lips as bare feet

climb the cliff path as dinner calls

tired bodies at the end of the day.


Carolyn O’Connell