Such villas bleach their arc along the strand Of any small resort where spume and sand Drew principled Victorians to dare A white improper leg or take the air, And somehow still these réchauffé hotels Preserve within their pastel walls the smells Of time, a jealous faded dignity, An aura of restraint and sympathy: A peacock stuffed and cased moth-eyes the stair; The plastic flowers are arranged with care. ’Our guests, our regulars, come back each year, Though some will not return next time I fear. Some of them say they used to go abroad’. The seasons’ grains trickle between the boards. Behind the formal lace breakfast at nine While on the beach the ski-girls’ wetsuits shine. Age is the irritant, the pearl desire. The gulls wheel at the sun, spiral and gyre. From every room a view of ships that hide Under the false horizon’s rim; the tide Lifts half-hour trippers nimble round the head. The glare is pitted in a sea like lead.
THE IMPOSSIBLE JIGSAW Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members) Cover illustration: Detail from a map of the Roman town of Godmanchester and sketch of Roman pipeclay Venus figurine by H. J. M. Green Publication: MARCH 1985 (61 pages laminated paperback)