Family at Sandy Bay 1959
Magical shore
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

The magic began each time
with the first sight of the ocean,
a blue pie wedge between green hills
northeast of Whangarei. Even now
when the ocean appears before me
my heart leaps, and some part of me
still chants “I can see the sea-ea.”

Magic the headlands, the yellow crescent
joining them, the rockpools’ miniature world
where sea anemones slowly flower and when
shells move, they can be snails, or crabs.

Magic the swimming in calm waves, the raft
and canoe, pipis dug from wet sand at low tide,
rock crabs and fish, even eels in the creek
behind the sand dunes, where we swam
when the surf was too rough.

A trimontagog lived in a cave in the cliff
near the end of the beach. We never went
past it. A giant troll lived under the bridge
by the pump, and some of the trees could talk.

We found a pirate’s horde, once, the time
we had a secret midnight feast by torch light,
under a full moon; old coins, a pocketful, deep
in the sand. That memory still defines my life for me;
the magic of discovering treasure.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is of myself and siblings at Sandy Bay [New Zealand],  with a couple of cousins in 1959. Yikes.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Each year until I was a teenager my family would holiday at Sandy Bay, on the East coast near Whangarei, New Zealand, where my father was born. His brother still ran the old dairy farm and we’d “help” with the morning milking, and bring back a billy of fresh milk to the bach where we camped. Then we had the days and the beach to ourselves, until Mum blew the bull horn summoning us for a meal.

mercedes-webb-pullmanABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at