Poem: Mediterranean Marloes

Inspired by this heatwave.

20th July 2021

After three days of windless heat and sun,
This peninsula adopts the persona of an Aegean island.
Now not sedimented by rainy rivers, the Atlantic glows so bluely
And she coves bright turquoise glassy shallows:
For bottombob masking children, suddenly so much to see!

Sound now travels Greek-style:
Loud the “BUFSH!” of a quarter mile gannet drop,
So clear, the distant take-off patters of gulls;
Crisp as royal shirtcuffs, every small wavebreak upon The Sands –
And far they can inland carry, without the intervene of breezes.

Strongly herbal scenting, the coast path’s baked green banks;
Passing black priest choughs rasp out dusty salutations
As they fluttercloak past, easy-buoyed on such heaty updraughts.
Meanwhile white buildings have such stinging bleachy brightness,
So glad we are of our broadest brims to tilt against that glare.

In my beachcomber’s yard, where sea-pine stacks for countless purposes,
Sunburning timber cricks cicida loud;
Out honeybeads hot amber; down it even wine-dark drips,
Riching the air resinous as in a stoop-roof monastery chapel,
And tasting my daily sea-homecomings with sudden retsina thirst.

Village mornings now murmur
With straw-hatted outdoor breakfasts;
Little ones on holiday live all their days in swimmers
Or brownly skimp about in even less:
This, a freedom they will not forget!

Dogs which aren’t mad magnetise deep shade
And pant until their tongues must ache;
Most cats, sun-grinning, luxuriate: barrelled by unwise night mice
They bliss on full-blast roofs,
Glossy bellies hot as loco boilers.

Some upcountry gardeners grumble
That it’s too hot for tomatoes;
But in our windowgape door-flung coastal greenhouses,
Neither wilt of thrusting green
Nor check of welcome ripening.

Still in shorts
We now can down the sun,
When normally an evening northerly would jumper and jean us,
Staying out
To work full use of weather.

As the sun to Ireland dips, easier now to imagine Ikaria, instead;
And, narrowing eyes to squint against the late sea-shine,
Can we imagine that distant passage ketch
An eye-glaring trireme, plashing defiance
Not of dark-eyed southern sirens but blue-luring northern selkies…?

…Truly, no we can’t,
For this moonfalling dew is definitely Welsh:
It tastes the truth of fat-stemmed summer grasses
And, close beneath our feet,
Spade-gleaming rain-plumped soil.

© Christopher Jessop 2021