A Breed And A Half Apart - Poem by Tony Jolley
She made my day,
Though she will never know it this side of Heaven…..
Sitting in the lee of a wonky, wooden beach-hut:
An amiable old codger of a bulwark
Against the rising tide of brick-built ne’er-do-wells,
Faces hove vaguely into view barely half a groyne away,
Resolving themselves, grey and damp, from a feature-fogging mist.
Few showed sign of a smile for their life or their lot,
A monochrome veil of melancholy drawn down from faces to feet
Dragging their personal contribution
To the woes of the world
In their wake.
Kids were a good breed-and-a-half apart from adults:
Capable of seeing through anything the day threw at them
To the potential for play
Hiding, but never beyond the seeking and finding,
In every waking moment.
A vanguard of high-velocity voices
Heralded the charge of a small Seventh Cavalry
On skate-board and scooter-back
Looming, ghost-like, out of the mist
To put the fear of god
Into any under-employed deckchair attendant
(or other available ‘enemy’) .
From above a pretty pink ‘armour’ of elbow pads
And below the protective presence of a sturdy cycle helmet,
Two dark brown eyes met mine.
I didn’t see the whole smile –
Her bike-speed saw to that –
But the first half alone was more than enough
To burn off all the mist
In a month of Bank Holiday Mondays.
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