With stilt-like gait they stalk the pool,
Ungainly, coral-hued and strange.
Their claim to beauty rests on shapes
Of oval bodies, sinuous necks
And then the crescent black-white head.

But all this picture counts for nought
When startled; then with raucous squawk
They flap their magic wings
And show
The fascinating black below.
A moment’s panic gives a glimpse
Of utter loveliness. Since then
I’ve never seen so fair a sight –
Wing-clipped flamingoes poised for flight…

Luperon, Dominican Republic. 2006

Seaside Tapestry

At Wittering on windy days
Bright surfers ride the white tipped waves;
Kite-surfers scud the bay with ease
Their kites high ‘Cs’ above high seas.
Landlubbers all line crowded sands.
Their tents and windbreaks deck the strand.
They peg them down to stop the blast
And pray their sand castles will last….
When high tide nears, excitement grows –
Sand walls are sunk in sodden rows.
Dug channels greet the rising flood:
Constructed castles turn to mud…
Playing with sand, playing with sea –
All the long day’s activity
Has formed a summer tapestry;
Life’s pointless metaphor for me.

West Wittering, July 2006