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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.