pebble beach suffolk

Riding Seaward
by Rebecca Loxton

My Frenchman has come to England to Meet the Parents. “I’ll bet what he’d love,” says my mother, “is a trip to the seaside,” forgetting momentarily that his country is ringed by magnificent coast. It is true however that the Frenchman has not experienced the idiosyncrasies of an English beach.

My family and the Frenchman bundle into the car, double-check the Labrador is on board, and motor towards the southeastern edge of our island. Having sweetened the Frenchman with a custard-drenched Sticky Toffee Pudding at a nearby gastropub, we meander towards the water.

“Where is the sand?” says the Frenchman, looking perplexedly at the expanse of saltwater-polished pebbles before him. “This is a pebble beach, Alexandre,” my mother chirps politely. “Just smell that sea air!” My parents stride off across the beach, pebbles crunching beneath their sandals.

The water licks the shore and winks in the sun. As the sun emerges from its duvet of cloud, my sister and I jam straw hats on our heads, then place hands on heads to keep said hats from whipping into the wind (or “sea breeze” as my mother would say). The dog tiptoes around in the shallows, uncertain as to whether he appreciates the seaside and the sensation of soggy paws.

The Frenchman, on the other hand, seems quite content. He has produced his camera and is snapping arty pictures of sea and pebbles. “Ah, I am so lucky,” he says, gripping me by the waist in a half-hug. “Oh, really?” I peer up at him in what I hope is an apt imitation of Parisian coquettishness from beneath the brim of my hat, and await compliments. “Yes,” beams my Frenchman, squinting at the waves. “I am in England during the three days of the year when it is sunny.”

PHOTO: A pebble beach, Suffolk (U.K.), found at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece is about a recent trip to the Suffolk coast. It is an extract from a longer piece of prose fiction.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in London, Rebecca Loxton read for a degree in French Literature at Oxford and now teaches English at the Sorbonne in Paris. She enjoys writing in her spare time but also whiles away many happy hours reading or wandering around art galleries.

by Karen Powell

Between grey clouds
and Norfolk sand
bare legs disregard the breeze
playing with escaped
strands of ponytail hair.

She examines each plastic scoop
for shells, stones smoothed
by North Sea waves,
and worthy of collecting
in a blue bucket.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Paddling in Norfolk (U.K), 1962.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Watching my granddaughter playing on the beach with a bucket and spade, I remembered watching my daughter doing the same, and this triggered a memory of me as a child also doing the same activity. The combination of these memories was the inspiration for my poem.

Powell (2)a

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Powell lives in Leicester (U.K.), and has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. Her poetry has been published in soundswrite 2015: an anthology of contemporary poetry, and various magazines including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears and The Lake. Visit her at

First Love
by Pru Bankes Price

We only ever took one seaside holiday
as a family. Two weeks in Sennen
when the sun shone every day.
The precious boy who was my brother
lost a shoe and yelled in red-haired temper.

One day they launched the lifeboat,
for a practice – a dashing romance
of fishermen, cobblers, gardeners lifted
from their daily calling, kitted out in yellow boots,
cracking jokes and saving lives.

I held my breath as they bucked and clattered
down the slipway, glowed an awkward crimson
as one turned, winking into the crowd.
Twelve years old the first of so many times,
I fell in love.

All alone kept a vigil, a knot in my throat as those heroes
of the waves became a distant inky blot in the afternoon’s tumult
and the quayside hullabaloo dissolved into abundant silence.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: At the beach (U.K.) with my first baby (1970).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written subsequent to my move to Cornwall (U.K.). The place mentioned in the poem (Sennen Cove) is now local to me and of course filled with memories. I recall the day in question and still blush at how I laid myself open to ridicule by refusing to leave the slipway long after the lifeboat had disappeared.

Bankes Price bio

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pru Bankes Price, a retired professional administrator, writes poetry and short stories. Born in Coventry (U.K.) and having lived all her life in the Midlands, Pru, often impetuous, surprised no one when she decided to move to new ground, retiring to Cornwall eight years ago with a plan to give time to writing. Her poetry was recognised by the Winchester Writers’ Conference in 2013 and has been published by Forward Poetry. Pru lives in Newquay near to one of her three daughters; exploring Cornwall, the theatre and opera are high on her list of favourite pastimes.

by Elizabeth Alford

footprints in the sand—
my old friend the ocean
waves hello

SOURCE: First published at Haikuniverse on April 1, 2016.

AlfordElizabeth Alford is a magna cum laude graduate of California State University, East Bay (B.A. English, 2014). She currently lives in Hayward, California, is an amateur photographer, and spends much of her time writing Japanese short forms. Her work has recently appeared at Silver Birch Press, Hedgerow, and Failed Haiku and is forthcoming in The Bamboo Hut. Follow her poetry adventures on Facebook.

ben waggoner
For the Young Boy in a Wheelchair at a Florida Beach
by Shawn Aveningo

I see the longing
as you gaze toward the sea.
Sharks, sunscreen, jellyfish
—the least of your concern.
You leave no footprints
in the powdery, white sand.
Instead, two ruts
like those I imagine
of slugs on steroids.

Among your comrades—
beached whales,
oil slicked birds,
fallen feathers now flightless
—you tediously roll on.
Palms calloused,
feet forever tender,
soon to realize
the closest to the sea
you’ll be
is the ocean’s roar.

Cupping a vacuous nautilus to your ear
you listen for God’s answer.
Your daily plea…

Momma always says
I’m a good boy.
So why me?

PHOTO: “Wheelchair tracks on the beach” by Ben Waggoner. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Twenty years ago, we took our three young children to the beach on a family vacation in Destin, Florida. As my children frolicked in the sun, I noticed a young boy, around 10 years old, who was in a wheelchair. There were no paved ramps or boardwalks nearby to take him closer to the water, so he tried to roll through the powdery sand. This poem was born of that memory.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shawn Aveningo is a globally published poet whose work has appeared in over 100 literary journals and anthologies. She’s a Pushcart nominee, co-founder of The Poetry Box, managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon and journal designer for VoiceCatcher. Shawn is a proud mother of three and shares the creative life with her husband in Portland, Oregon.

The Day the Ice Cream Fell
by Sally Zakariya

It was the long summer I was eight—all
summers were long then, hot and full
of possibilities, but nothing happened
there in that tranquil bay-side guesthouse—
no one to adventure with except my big sister
and she suddenly, mysteriously grown up beyond me
nothing to divert me but nettlesome jellyfish
and the taunts and tantrums of a skinny kid
whose mother would sigh languidly Don’t
do that Hugh and Hugh would keep
on doing that or worse

Stung and out of sorts, I leapt at the chance
to go to the nearby town for ice cream
butter brickle, please, two scoops, sugar cone
I hopped on the hot pavement barefoot
balancing the swiftly softening treat
but one foot landed on the smoldering
butt of a Lucky Strike and I jerked away.

So small a loss but still I grieved a bit
that night, not just for ice cream spilled
or jellyfish or wretched, worrisome Hugh
but for another summer passing and me
too young and too alone

S. Zakariya

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sally Zakariya’s poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals and won prizes from Poetry Virginia and the Virginia Writers Club. She is author of Insectomania (2013) and Arithmetic and other verses (2011) and editor of Joys of the Table: An Anthology of Culinary Verse. Zakariya blogs at

Nearly Drowning

Nearly Drowning
by Ashley Steineger

“And then you smiled,” Mother tells me, “with this odd, almost omniscient grin. You knew something we didn’t know. You still do.” 

“Don’t go near the deep end without your floaters!” screamed an adult voice. I plopped down on my watermelon towel to pout, tugging roughly at the folds of my pink tutu bathing suit.

But the pool itself, with its cool blue torso and darker forbidden areas, called to me. With a chlorinated whisper, the pool commanded, “Jump in me. You are meant to run, dance, swim.”

I had never swum long in the deep end without help, but I recall telling my frustrated little body that it was better to try and fail then sit dormant on a watermelon towel and watch the world pass me on. I walked confidently to the pool’s edge and stepped directly into the deep end.

And I sank like a pink tutu-wearing stone.

Thirty years later, I can feel the community pool water on my skin, the tightening of my chest, a weightlessness. Though not a single hint of fear. No panic. It was a divine and peaceful sixty seconds. The pool turned an angelic yellow-white as I prepared for something I didn’t quite understand. A mysterious voice told me not to be afraid. Ancient knowledge flooded my brain, through my innocent soul. I was One with all. I knew.

Just as my body began to go limp, Mother yanked me up into her frantic arms. She hit me on the back, squeezed my cheeks. The other moms gathered around, gasping. I stared back calmly at the community pool, every eye on me, as though I had stopped the whole world by nearly drowning. With an easy smile, I looked lovingly at my mother, and asked for some lemonade.

PHOTO: After nearly drowning (June 1985).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  Upon seeing the prompt for the Beach and Pool series, I remembered a story my mother told me years ago about learning how to swim. She showed me an old photograph (attached) and explained how I had almost drowned on numerous occasions because I thought I already knew how to swim. She believes that nearly drowning changed me. I tend to agree with her.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ashley Steineger lives and writes in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is a former psychologist turned freelance writer. Her personal essays recently appeared in The Mighty, an online journal about mental health. She gravitates towards poetry and personal memoir, and is currently working on her second book. When she is not writing, Ashley enjoys fishing, avoiding small talk, and finding beauty in the mundane.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I am fishing at the Haw River outside the small town of Bynum, North Carolina. It’s my secret spot.

Drifting toward Maui
by Carolyn Martin

The guide was clear –
at 1 p.m. determined tides
pull Hapuna waves off-shore.
But I forgot the time.
Forgot my fins.
Forgot you dozing
in the shade
when dreams to swim
toward reefs I’d never seen
pulled me from my sleep.

Later, you would say
an orange bird worried you
awake and flew your eyes
along the sea-sky line.

You’d say you didn’t feel
the burning sand or see
the turtle art tattooed
around the lifeguard’s arms
or understand his too-calm scan
of the headland’s curve.

You’d say you had to beg,
She’s sixty and alone,
before he’d abdicate
his throne and slash
his board into the surf.

While I — already grown afraid
of missing anything I’ve yet to see —
was oblivious to tides,
adrift with angels, tangs,
and butterflies,
almost out of reach.

SOURCE: Previously published in Carolyn Martin, Finding Compass (Portland, Oregon: Queen of Wands Press, 2011).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I found this orange bird on a Maui beach years later. I like to think it was the same one in my poem.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Snorkeling on Hapuna Beach on the Big Island years ago, I ignored the guidebook and was pulled out to sea. Luckily, a friend, sleeping on shore, was literally awakened by an orange bird and started to look for me. When she saw I was way out beyond the cliffs, she ran to the lifeguard who needed some persuading to paddle out to rescue me. Needless to say, I now pay more attention to what the experts say about local conditions.

Martin bio1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn Martin is blissfully retired in Clackamas, Oregon, where she gardens, writes, and plays. Her poems have appeared in publications throughout the USA and UK and her second collection, The Way a Woman Knows, was released by The Poetry Box in 2015. She travels as an excuse to write poems.

Traeth Llyfn beach
by Mantz Yorke

Traeth Llyfn beach is glorious — a wide stretch of smooth golden sand backed by high cliffs, with occasional ribs of rock like the backs of partially submerged dinosaurs. Safe, except for the risk of being cut off by the tide.

The children have had fun in the shallows, paddling an inflatable boat. Now it’s my turn. I row out between two ribs of rock that project into the blue sea. I notice a wave a bit larger than the usual gentle swell running in on me. Concerned it will break and thrust the inflatable on to the barnacle-sharp rock, I row hard and clear the end of a rib: the wave breaks just behind me. At the same moment sea-fog rolls in, blotting out everything but the rib I’ve just passed and the lines of darker grey as waves roll towards me on what is now a light grey sea. I’m quite clear about what I need to do. I row across the swell to where I know the main stretch of sand is, then turn in towards the shore. On the way in, I’m tipped over by a breaking wave, but it doesn’t matter since I’m in the shallows. I lift the inflatable onto my back and walk across the sand to where I left the family.

Not having been able to see what had happened to me, they were mightily relieved to see me coming towards them, just as the fog dissipated as quickly as it had rolled in.

PHOTO: Traeth Llyfn beach, Wales. Photo from

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Traeth Llyfn beach is in a fairly remote part of Pembrokeshire, Wales. We used to have family holidays nearby. The coincidence of wave and fog happened as described.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England.  His prose and poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, the US, and Hong Kong.

by Shay Cook

I leave my sister back
at the beach bungalow
licking her wounds
over a breakup everyone
except she knew was imminent.

Outside the pussywillows
dance their tango with the
seaweed while a few feet
away I pick a yellow hibiscus
and tuck it behind my ear.

Energized by the sight
of seagulls floating
weightless in the wind,
I escape my sister’s
enduring hiatus from life.

IMAGE: “Seagulls over the waves” by Ohara Koson (1915).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process is to show up to write by scheduling time to craft words often during the week. I believe creativity will be waiting for me when I arrive!

Shay Cook Poet1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shay Cook earned an MFA in Creative Writing from National University and a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Phoenix. She is the recipient of the Hillsborough County Lit Wit Poetry Contest, Winner of the Tampa Tribune Letter of the Day, and author of a collected work of poems entitled Black Silk. Her poem “Playing Dress Up” was recently accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Mother’s Always Write Magazine. Shay’s nonfiction and poetry pieces have been published in The Quill, Writer’s World, Office Professional Magazine, Write Now, Chips Off the Writer’s Block, Black Cat Poetry, Yesterday’s Magazette, Shadow Poetry, e-zines, small presses, and other literary magazines. She is currently working on her second book of poetry, A Pale Shade of Color and several chapbooks. In her spare time she hosts local creative writing workshops. She lives in Tampa, Florida.


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