Poised on the headland,
a wooden tented circular corridor
its mirrored cubicles bringing the outside
in with scenes from around the corner;
the yellowed green and brown of cliff tops,
a busy funnelled harbour,
seagulls that clamour and sweep above
weathered benches where walkers
rest to peer lazily out to sea.
Obscured, Edwardian tourists
would eagerly spy on bathers
cavorting in the sea pools below,
or else searched for couples cuddling on summer warmed slopes.
Inside, I think of Foucault’s and Bentham’s
surveying panopticons and as I move
from cubical to cubical and from
glass imaged screen to screen,
the foot stained wooden floor
trembles and persistently creaks.
There is a sense of an unwelcome presence,
following in the magical and flickering dark.
The Morning After
A chance meeting, a night together sleeping
in holiday cuddles of middle-aged love.
With an early breakfast cuppa,
she reveals her doubts as he listens
as best he can. In the cold light of day,
they wonder why they were so eager
and at what price they might have to pay.
Will it last, was it worth it,
should they do it again?
The answer is there plain to see,
soft fleshy balloons,
erect ice cream.
It was all just a Freudian dream.
Postcard to Home
Two young Irish maids, one of many
required during summer seasons.
Temporary come-overs working in hotels,
boarding houses and holiday camps.
Some were lucky, considered
one of the family, others exploited;
laying tables, serving meals,
washing up, fetching groceries,
looking after children, folding sheets
beating carpets, scrubbing floors
walking the dogs and emptying
piss pots for a pittance.
Time off and a postcard home
to friends and family provides
some solace, searching for one to send.
But garish jokes are edgy
with misplaced fun not kind to some.
Wish you were here. No not for them,
Wish we were there. Back home.
A Changing Moment
Fairy lights and hotel windows
cascade along the promenades,
their evening summer glow
edging the sea-side sand.
Couples dance on palace polished
floors as orchestras replay their youth.
Others gather on crowded deck chairs,
sharing their shading shadows
to watch a full moon rising.
Dark clouds gather,
the moment already fading.
Showing off, the tight trunked boys,
come in from the sea and face the girls,
who have deftly escaped by leaving
their parents in smoky pubs
and cake sweet cafés.
The trio of girls shyly eye the bathers,
until with more lascivious looks
the young Romeos will sit with them
in promenade shelters, breathing in their
heady perfumes to steal an eager kiss.
Hiding their teenage fears
and the holiday tears to come.
Doug Sandle is a writer, a psychologist and a former university academic. He has been published intermittently over the years, including once sharing a poetry page with Harold Pinter. More recently his poetry has appeared in The New European, The Ekphrastic Review, Poetry and Covid and the anthology The View from Olympia (poems on Olympic sports). He has also written short stories and plays, including a BBC and Radio New Zealand broadcast. He was born and brought up on the Isle of Man.
The Ekphrastic Review
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