Walking on a beach without a dog

by Pam Newham

The first time, I thought, would be the worst.
The pewter sea lay heavy as sluggish waves
folded and unfolded over cold bland sand.
I stood and watched the others:
sort out scolding seagulls
roll in ripe seal remains
wrestle with kelp-strands.

But months later when a light south-easter
whisked the waves and thirty four degrees
filled the beach, I watched them again:
tumble tennis balls through the surf
lift legs against bright beach bags
race together in disorderly packs
and, above the waves,
a faint voice calling,
come back.

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I Am Eight

by Annette Snyckers

Dry leaves crackle around my ears,
smell of sweet decay sticks to my skin,
I cannot get enough,
I have to jump again
into the raked-up pile.

Under the bare-limbed Mulberry tree,
I run and jump and sink
in summer’s throw-away excess,
and again!
The leaves are very brown,
and again!
The sky is very blue.

Leaving

by Angela Prew

Grey skies hang above
this drought-dried, hose-denied island.
Clouds burst daily, flooding fields,
rivers run through country roads,
flow unstopped into churning seas.
Emerald banks are jewelled with Spring flowers.’
Red campions, bluebells, primroses,
blooming together, decorate hedgerows.

but where is Summer?

Summer is a diamond pageant.
An Armada leads the Queen and Duke,
down the tideless Thames.
The banks are lined with cheering crowds
loyally standing, drenched by chilling rain.
Throughout this celebrating land
flags hang damply, street parties move indoors,
people run for shelter

and Summer stays away.

The day has come, our bags are packed,
the car stands at the door. .
We’re going home, where Winter waits
and snow lies on the mountain peaks,
where the skies are blue and sunshine
lights our days.
When rain does fall it’s welcome rain
filling empty dams.
and, here, we never need pretend

it’s Summer.

Carpe Diem

by Annette Snyckers

Anger drums at my temples,
worry has tied heavy stones to my heart.
I step outside,
I feel the breeze,
in my hand the garden shears –
God help any twiglet
out of place today!

I cut back, snip and trim
wild overgrowth entangled.
In me the excess falls away
and suddenly I am vanquished
by the come-on scent of summer:

Flowers calling flying insects
to pack pollen and drink deeply
before it is too late.

Cape Town Summer 2011

by Elaine Edwards

it’s a hot dry season sisters
a cut- out Table Mountain
is pasted on a painted sky
a glassy sea collaged below
along the shore dune weed
blackens and crisps
exposing blinding sand beneath

it’s a long hot dry season sisters
sunburnt crags sweat
shrubs shrivel and curl
in sudden leaps of flame
smoke swirls
in nostrils
reddened eyes

it’s a long hot dry barren season oh my sisters
when will the sea smell sound
carried on the westerly wind
announce the rain
that will restore my heart
and saturate
my desiccated brain