To the Sea

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April 2003

Nomination: To the Sea [October 1969. From High Windows]

As a child our family holidays were always taken somewhere by the seaside where we could spend all day on the beach totally absorbed in whatever we were doing. It always seemed to me as though we had somehow crossed over into another place where time was suspended. Even now as an adult and parent I still love to be at the seaside. There is still that feeling of being in that other place, especially towards the end of the afternoon as the light changes and people start to leave.

This poem for me captures the whole atmosphere of the beach, the goings on, the litter. You can see it, hear it, you are there. The way things gradually change as time moves on, the steamer previously stuck in the afternoon is gone, the sunlight turning milky like breathed-on glass, and finally the fact that we will come back next year to experience it all again.

Andy Banks

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