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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Sea Canoeing

Each evening we upended the canoes.
Capsized on dry land, they were tents -
and did they look the part! The beach
a campsite, muti-coloured. Glorious,
as if the sun was out. But not this night.

This night was different. This last night
we'd planned to paddle out, past where
the River Cuckmere meets two currents and
the tide, where we'd been dunked before,
to pass round Beachy Head and on to East-

bourne to a pub we knew. We'd planned
the week to end as all such weeks should.
I see us like a line of old men stooped,
canoes along our backs, one hand steadying,
the other with the paddle in its grasp.

It seemed a long way to the sea, the moon
a hidden light, and in its turn an iron
spike, rusty, sharp, was hidden from our view.
Protruding from the sands, it found the calf,
the fleshy part, of our instructor's leg.

He drove himself to hospital. Sports car.
Two seater. The only transport near at hand.
and so it was we paddled out, now leaderless,
instructorless - and clueless, truth be known -
to Eastbourne to the A and E, to learn

he'd left and driven back. We'd missed him by
a few strokes of a paddle. Winked at us,
the pub lights did. We hurried by, as if
we were conspirators, as if they knew
our kayaks were not made for crates of beer.


7 comments:

jabblog said...

This has the ring of truth about it! Oh, the foolish things we do when young and invincible, but what memories.

That Janie Girl said...

When you write, I visualize your stories. Love this one.

The Cello Strings said...

the imagery is visual, beautiful, and artistic.

Windsmoke. said...

Vivid imagery of younger days when we thought we were bullet proof :-).

Mary said...

Ah yes, Dave, it is amazing that we survived our youthful adventures. And yes, we did think we were immortal, and i guess that was okay. I enjoyed this write.

Hannah Stephenson said...

We know the instructor is ok based on your line about driving himself to the hospital (sports car). Playing at doing things teacherlessly....

Dave King said...

jabblog
How right you are! I'm glad the truth rang out, but yes the foolishness of youth and its great ake of memories!

That Janie Girl
Welcome to the blog, it's great to have you calling. Thank you so much for your kind words.

The Cello Strings
A warm welcome and my sincere thanks for your generous comment.

Windsmoke
Absolutely! Maybe thinking it, we were!

Mary
Much thanks Mary. Thorny subject though, this risk business. Why was it right then, but not now - as it appears not to be?

Hannah
Yes, though from my memory of it, he shouldn't have driven himself anywhere. The leg was in an awful condition. He was not able to canoe for weeks - though he still drove himself back to base!