Our north-facing windows frame a palm tree,
its long leaves the perfect windicator.
On calm days, top ones lie limp – droopy, dozy dreadlocks.
But even then, the lowest tremble and flicker,
a pianist's hands limbering up for a Tchaikovsky marathon.
In a lively breeze, they gesture like a many-armed conductor
waking up a sleepy orchestra. But – when a scowling storm swaggers in, swathed in swirling, sleet-laced snow, and hustles huddled humans into hiding – they thrash incoherent, demented semaphore.
Madness it is to venture out on days like those. Daft enough to try?
From hillside – if you can stay upright and stop your hat blowing away – you look down on angry grey Channel
crowned by murky, misty maze of sludge where sea and sky collide.
Humpback waves, white with fear, flee terror and tempest,
singing their song of suicide – kamikazes racing each
other to death on slippery, sloping, snarling shingle.
Others roar and smash at battered bulwarks, booming over seawall barriers, intent on wrapping puny pedestrians in icy, aquatic embrace
and on dragging vanquished victims into oblivion of the deep.
Yet finally – finally! – even storms must tire, and slink off to
somewhere over the rainbow where these malevolent monsters lurk, playthings returning to their masters,
there to gloat on damage, destruction and death strewn behind.
And we are left in peace once more, gazing on placid, peaceful seaway gently kissing the bluest of skies. And – dominating the horizon – rampant Rampion* ranks, lancers on parade, mighty marine candles awaiting ignition on our cake of celebration.
But for how long? Down in Hades, its potent, primeval, pagan pantheon – underworld warlords wielding weather-stained weapons of water and wind, earthquake and volcano –
scheme and plot their next atrocity...
copyright © Peter Black 2019
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