Eastbourne

Poem from Overheard in a Tower Block by Joseph Coelho

Kicking the pebbles along Eastbourne beach

as the orange-pink of sunset

plays with the ebbing tide,

my mother asks…

 

“What do you want to do when you’re older?”

 

There is every colour of pebble beneath my feet,

grey lumps of flint winking their sharp, shining

   cores,

gritty ovals of sandstone, pregnant with fossils,

worn amulets of glass of every sparkle.

 

They crunch and shift under synced steps

as we stroll, towels wrapped around sand-dusted

   bodies.

The sea sings with the pebbles,

knocking a tone from each,

forming a hushing melody.

 

Sunbursts dip into the wispy clouds,

bounce from the greens, blacks and purples of the

   rock pools,

shine red and gold and white from the sea.

There is every colour in the sun.

 

My baby sister toddles alongside my grandmother,

the years between them

like the ghosts of waves already ebbed

and the years to come

like the promise of tides,

as their silhouettes whisper in the sunshine.

 

“What do I want to be when I’m older?”

 

The question bounces around my head

like light and wind and water and time

and I smile…

 

“I don’t know.”

 

 

© Joseph Coelho from Overheard in a Tower Block (Otter-Barry Books)