C Richard Miles


St Ives Memories


I don't remember much about St. Ives
And what I do does not serve to describe
That celebrated south-west seaside town
With much accuracy or awed affection.

For only thoughts of slating rain remain
Drawn deep with in my brain: the day dawned damp
With shades of pale-grey whale-grey clouds that scowled
And sulked their hulking bulks on the horizon.

That morning told the old, old story, for
The storm-shot August sky could not stay dry
For long, as we, among the tourist throng
Crawled slug-slow on the country lanes of Cornwall.

I don't remember much about the town,
Half-drowned already when we had arrived
In fed-up seas of soggy sightseers
Who trod the steep streets keenly seeking shelter.

We followed, as he led us, plodding on,
With dog-end dangling from his angry lip,
Sou'wester sodden, dodging plopping drops,
The dogged, sullen, dull car-park attendant.

He “mogged” on, as my mother would recount,
To show us to the mud-clad parking plot
He had reserved for emmets from the north,
Green interlopers who had ventured southwards.

The prospect that we fostered next was set
Before us, as we targeted a film
To get us all out of the wet; I bet
The same idea was clear to all the others.

I don't remember much about the film:
Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang I think it was.
Though dad had phoned before we all went in
To let our landlady learn of our lateness.

We could not reach St Columb where we stayed
In time for tea, where dearth in Cornish earth
Of produce meant the green-bean queen would serve
The tough-skin, rough-skin, long-stringed legumes for us.

There must have been a glut of these she grew,
For every meal our plates were piled eye-high
And when we children left them on our plates
She would complain, so dad must play the hero.

He hated lemon but one day he ate
Lemon-meringue to mitigate her rage
Since we had shunned again the proffered fare,
A cutlet buried under sundry scarlet runners.

So, of St Ives, that's it; there is no more
I bring to mind; the green beans and the film,
The sailing rain and plodding, mogging man
The parking lot and mud: an ugly picture.

I don't remember much about St Ives
But I'm the odd-one out; it seems so strange,
Since my sister owns a home down there:
So rain and runner beans did not discourage her!

Submitted: Thursday, March 18, 2010
Edited: Monday, July 12, 2010

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