UKArchive ID: 36050

December Promenade
by nemo
Originally published on January 1, 2016 in Poetry        

It’s only a few days since Christmas,
but after the joy comes a niggling sort of ache,
here by the sea, with this lonely reveller
of festive darkness, shedding needles of rain
and a glitter of shivers along the promenade;
with this foul-mouthed wind staggering
off the tide at closing-time, fetching home
a surly catch of staleness from the sea.

Stale too, all along the front, the wind’s accumulation:
gusts of greasy smells, clattering gangs of rusty cans
and whispering cronies of crumpled wrappers
that lour and loll or lobby locked arcades.

And staler still, scumming off the stranded year,
and all the years beneath, the skins, the smells
of other selves, the damaged, discarded selves –
like canisters of waste discharging at sea,
corrosive stuff, irradiating, blanching
the blood of this resort all hunched up   
and left to play alone in winter rooms
in a fug of malaise, with a baffled buzz
of wings on the glass, a whiff of death
behind the curtains.

Look! All the lights are wistful spies,
for a glimpse of meaning in our lives.
See, now they peer around the bay,
nudge-nudging from window to window
for the secrets up her skirts,
as holly-spangled Hesper tinsels down the sky,
and sidles over here, for warmth, to you and me.

© nemo (Nemo on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 36050
Archived comments for December Promenade

sweetwater on 02-01-2016
December Promenade
It's not so good at the seaside during winter then! Your words of drama painted a strong picture, loved all those perfectly placed images I could virtually smell the abandonment and decay. Also the butlering done by those naughty peeping stars was inspired writing. I would love to see this one in the next anthology. Sue.

Author’s Reply:
Yes, I would also love to see this in anthology, so many thanks for the nomination, Sue. I'm pleased you liked it. It's an old poem of mine, going back to how Southend-on-Sea affected me in 1985. It appeared the following year in a poetry magazine called Thursdays, now defunct, I believe.

Best wishes for the new year,


Bozzz on 02-01-2016
December Promenade
What no salmon lying ashore, poisoned by the ancient Mersey tide? And is there still a nearby salt mine to cast behind the ear. You must have enjoyed writing this piece as much as I enjoyed reading it. Great stuff. My best for New Year…David

Author’s Reply:
More Southend in 1985 than New Brighton, David. (The leaving of Merseyside was in 1970.) Yes, I did enjoy writing this. Sadly, nowadays, I don't seem to come up with the metaphors anymore.

Best wishes for the New Year, Gerald.

Mikeverdi on 09-01-2016
December Promenade
Another gem from your pen Gerald, as to its age, it matters not. Keep them coming.


Author’s Reply:
Pleased you liked it, Mike. Many thanks.

Best wishes for the new year,


gwirionedd on 04-04-2016
December Promenade
I really like the use of language here. In places it is breathtakingly imaginative, for example:

“this foul-mouthed wind staggering

off the tide at closing-time”

and “gangs of rusty cans”…

Also, a very rich array of alliteration. Excellent stuff.

Author’s Reply:
Pleased you liked it. A favourite of mine. Thanks, Gerald.