The Fort on the Beach

We built a fort of seaweed
Against the rising tide,
We made it round and solid
And then all climbed inside.

The waves splashed up against it
Till we were wet with spray,
Our fort began to crumble
And seaweed float away.

“Quick, quick, the walls are giving!
Build up the broken gate!
Let’s reinforce the ramparts
Before it is too late!”

In spite of all our efforts
To stop the rushing tide,
Our castle sank beneath the waves
And water came inside.

“Abandon ship” my Daddy cried,
“Let’s leave it to the sea!”
We scrambled up the beach to Mum
And went back home for tea.

26 August 1979

The Mill-stream

Under the tangled late summer grasses
After the rain shower full the stream passes,
Flooding and gushing down through the bracken,
Not till the mill-pond does its flow slacken.
Down through red campion, hart’s tongue and wild bramble,
Over the boulders, see the stream scramble!
Lost in a tunnel of ferns by the roadside,
Hidden from view as it runs down the hillside,
Bullrushes, foxgloves, speedwell and mallow
Border its passage through fields lying fallow.
Down through the mill-race, through sluice gates turning,
Over the mill-wheel splashing and churning.
Round goes the wheel and the stones grind and grumble
And into the sacks the flour starts to tumble.
Here all is noise with the rumble and creaking,
But high in the loft where the sunlight is streaming,
On fat sacks of grain in the dust calmly seated,
The ghosts of past millers with smocks neatly pleated
Gossip of things as they once used to be,
While the stream rushes onwards down to the sea.

Quetivel Mill, St Peter’s Valley, Jersey

Honeysuckle Hedgehog

There’s a hedgehog in the woodbine
Beside the garden gate,
Who goes out walking every night
When it is very late.
Our Tuppy doesn’t like him,
He barks and jumps around,
He really doesn’t understand
Why hedgehog makes no sound
But rolls himself into a ball
And lies there very still,
Till Tuppy loses patience
As playful puppies will.
For Tuppy loves his basket
Upon the bedroom floor,
He goes in when they call him
And Grandpa locks the door.
But hedgehog is nocturnal
And when we are a-bed,
He does his midnight shopping
And sleeps all day instead.

3 September 1979