MARGATE IN OCTOBER

We are in Margate in October.
A cold grey incongruity
Brutalist, graffiti, wet sand,
Busy ship lanes from Dover to Calais.
The ching, ching of amusements,
A closed- up beach bar, thundering waves, ice cream parlours.

Seaside places out of season are like sepia photos
Full of murkiness, nostalgia, echoes,
A kind of displacement, not to be believed
Just as the soft drone of traffic in the basement flat
Has the air of unreality, confused memory;

Tunisia in October at the start of Eid.
The same drone of traffic
Lorries loaded with sheep
Heading for slaughter, for family feasts.

Mostly we stayed inside the stone apartment, built for sun
Wary of the outside, spiked hostility, faded heat,
Of a heritage we both claim and try to disassociate from.

A past too big, too awful, too out of reach
But still affecting. Still current.
We hope our little snippets of human courtesy may count
Build a tentative human connection across the gulf, whilst
Protective of our beautiful blonde daughter and her gorgeous friend
Wanting to wear bikinis and flimsy tops
In a world they really can’t.

The traffic rumbles on in Margate
The greyness and destitution, the unemployment and the drunks outside
Infiltrate our thoughts, the ongoing interior world that transverses time and continents
Is both remote and deep, relevant, distinct.

Surprised by the small shoots of wealth
The new gallery, the bistros, bookshops and reclaimed Victoriana
Revealing a once fashionable architecture
Hidden under the broken pavements, 60’s tower block and shabby hotels

The mix of hope and shame,
Past and future, immigration, class, culture
Margate’s unlikely heroin,
The unmade bed;
Draws new art, new narratives
Creative, incongruous, out of cinq.

The traffic rumbles on in Margate
The drone of the outside world seems far away
As we walk on the faded promenade, a cold wind bites,
Revitalises a longing for Summer and warmer sea
Promises both present and out of reach.

Author: LUCY CALCOTT

I write poetry, children's stories and the occasional article. I am also a painter and usually work in acrylic and water based crayon. I love colour but also enjoy using charcoal. I am principally interested in an emotional or spiritual response to landscape but I like figures too. In my writing I am searching for a contemporary religious female voice which is tolerant and open hearted . I have a MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University and have had poetry published in various journals. I also have a small collection of poems in print; Magdalene and other poems. I have exhibited paintings and poetry locally in Eastbourne and the surrounding area and with Christian Arts nationally. I am also a nurse and a mother of three grown up children. I am active in the interfaith movement.

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