The Bandstand . . . . . .
The bandstand on the cliff lies empty now, Surrounded by deckchairs, faded, flapping And in a nearby shelter, bag beside her, A woman crouches out of the wind, Clutching her scarf and gazing sightless out to sea.
Across the springing turf an old man treads Fresh from the Legion, with medals bright in rows, And, wordless, sits beside her. She looks up, irritated at the
interruption, Wanting to be alone with all her memories But he stays silent and at last she offers Thermos tea.
“I remember when this was all barbed wire.” He nods towards the empty beach, “Tank traps, and stakes. I manned that pillbox there — a ruin now of course. The kids get in, to smoke and that. Drugs too most like.” In unison they sigh. Their youth was not like this.
“We used to sit here, me and Ted,” she says at last. “I lost him at Dunkirk.” “A rum do, that, and no mistake.” He clears
his throat. “It seems like it were only yesterday.”
And once more they fall silent, each remembering.
After a while, he rises, stiffly. “Nice
chatting, love. I must get off — Me grandson’s coming for his tea. Thanks
for the nice hot cuppa, very welcome. Maybe we’ll meet again some sunny day.” A
wave and he is gone.
Out of the wind, the woman crouches,
gazing sightless out to sea. The bandstand on the cliff lies empty, surrounded by the deckchairs,
Faded, flapping . . .
The pavilion at Frinton- on- Sea, Essex.