Archives for category: BEACH & POOL MEMORIES

gilford beach swingset
Last Summer
by Kelley White

I remember last summer but I can’t remember March
(March? was there ever a March?
Or May? or April?)
More important, was there ever last summer?
And will there ever be this summer?
I don’t know, somehow I doubt it.
(I know there’s now, or I dream there’s now,
Anyway it seems there’s now)

Last summer was too perfect, full of long days of lying in the sun
in an old army shirt
and swimming for miles
and frappes and poker and bundling under the picnic table when it
and feeling skinny, absolutely skinny, next to everyoneelse
and playing frisbee and touch-tackle football
and I wasn’t the odd one, not me
and we didn’t go drinking and smoke pot (not me, but it’s there, and
This summer)
and giggle and laugh
and hide in the woods and catch poison ivy and who knows what else
and sit on the beach and read palms and tell fortunes
and it never mattered who flirted with who
and no one really cared much either way
and sit on the swings and sing drunkenly (we never were drunk, not me
I never was, but
This summer)
and catch pine needles in your feet
and drink coke, and tab and lemonade and fill beer bottles with
and laugh and throw pizza at the walls and watch it run down
and giggle and giggle and giggle and gulp
and pull your hat down over your eyes and laugh
and giggle at the running red stains that look like blood (they never
were, but
This summer. . . )

PHOTO: Gilford Beach, Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I found a group of poems typed up on onionskin and bound with construction paper and yarn in a box in the attic when I moved out of my big old house. This was one of them. I wrote them when I was fourteen. I spent as much time as possible at my town’s beach, a really wonderful long stretch on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. My children learned to swim there too.


Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural
 New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals, including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, and JAMA. Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.


Summer’s Unshackled Sands
by Mel A Rowe

It was a time when bathers & boardies became wardrobe necessities
and smeared sunscreen and sloppy hats were common accessories.
Maths forgotten on countless surfboard tumbles & kickboard glides
and where our English lessons were compromised.
Our screams deafened from sand dune slides
yet, we listened to Surf Lifesavers’ lessons
on spotting sharks and surviving riptides.

It was a time of drowsy afternoons of ice cream cones & sticky fingers
where lanky limbs hung over the veranda’s hammock swings.
We’d rest peeling sunburnt skin and gritty eyes,
as a chance to repair kites and fishing lines.

But as the sun simmers its summer spin
the shack’s lights spread across warm sand
tasting barbecued snags
we’d craft our bonfire singalongs,
pirate wars, and ghosted mermaid tales,
to the finale’s yawning chorus of ‘not-tired’ wails.
Ending in slumber on bunk beds cooled by a reef’s breeze
where we’d wish away school bells and the oncoming winter freeze.

PHOTO: Encounter Bay, South Australia by Fairv8.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As kids who lived in the Outback, the beach was a heavenly freedom for us, and this is about my childhood annual summer adventures at the rustic, family shared, fishing shack that used to be nestled in the Coorong in Encounter Bay, South Australia. I found it warming to revisit my childhood summers when I wrote this poem as it is currently winter in Australia (June through August) and schools are closed for end of semester for a few weeks. The Australian summer season runs from  December to February, where most schools close the first week of December and don’t reopen for the new school year until after Australia Day at the end of January. Then we’re made to endure the record-breaking hottest month of February, wishing schools would close for being too hot while trying to relearn the delicacies of sitting still in a clock-watched classroom, resisting the restrictive scratch of uniforms, enduring blisters from breaking-in new shoes after having roamed free in bathers and thongs all summer long.  Even now, as an adult, this post-summer ritual still occurs and I can’t help but flip the pages of the calendar to count down the months to summer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mel A Rowe is a writer & wannabe weekend wanderer, taking random photos, writing rambling words, while trying to not get too lost in the Outback of Northern Australia. You can find her flash fictional pieces at

Beach Aberporth
by Gareth Writer-Davies

the unruly temperament

meets the nemesis
of others

I have confidence

to scorn
the salty games of the waves

like a submarine

coming up

wanting only
to start again

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The beach photo was taken at Aberporth Beach, Cardiganshire (as the county was called then), Wales, with my older sister when I was about three (1965).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Traeth is Welsh for beach.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gareth Writer-Davies was Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition in 2015, Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition, and Highly Commended in the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition. Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014.His pamphlet Bodies was published in 2015 through Indigo Dreams and his next pamphlet Cry Baby will be published in 2017.

by Lynn White

I had never been to the seaside.
I knew what to expect, though.
I had a book about it.
There were lots of pictures of rock pools
and the strange creatures living there.
My favorites were the hermit crabs.
I was looking forward to those the most.
I had a little bucket to collect them in.

But there were no rock pools,
at this seaside.
Just flat sand with a thin distant line
of cold grey sea.
No one said.

I found some shells
to put in my bucket.
I liked the tiny pink ones best.
But most were broken
and not worth collecting.
No one said.

No shells, no hermit crabs, but
they showed me how to put damp sand
into my miniature bucket.
with my miniature spade
and how to pat it down
and tip it out to make ‘sand pies’.
I was supposed to like doing this.
No one said.

They gave me some paper flags
on thin wooden sticks.
I could stick them in
the top of my sand pies.
I was supposed to like doing this.
No one said.

I thought I’d save up my flags
until I’d climbed the mountain
at my auntie’s.
When I got to the top
I’d arrange them into my initials
so everyone would know I’d been there.
I started to practice this.
But they said the mountain
was a slag heap, not a mountain
and therefore out of bounds.
No one said.

We stayed on the beach a long time.
Then we went to a toy shop.
My father bought me a doll
with real hair, they said.
But it was made of nylon.
I called her Gloria.
That was the best bit.
but nothing was
as it had been
inside my head.

IMAGE: Detail from vintage South Shields railway poster. Prints available at actionposters.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is about a day trip with my parents from Sheffield to a seaside resort on the east coast of England.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition 2014. This and many other poems have been published in recent anthologies, including Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, Community Arts Ink’s Reclaiming Our Voices, Vagabond Press’s The Border Crossed Us, Civilised Beasts and Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones from Weasel Press, Alice in Wonderland Anthology from Silver Birch Press, and man other rather excellent online and print journals. Visit her on facebook and at

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author, poolside in Tenerife in 2009 — not a sand pie to be seen.

Swimming with My Father
Kennack Sands c. 1959
by Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt

Chest high in the glittering ocean,
beyond the cool shadow of the cliff’s sheer edge
and the long, crooked fingers of dark rock,
I am bobbing, cresting, feeling the lightness of my body
and the pull of the sand between my toes.
In my dreams, I can go back there:
where you are counting waves, waiting
for the big one to come rolling;
it will lift us up like the slow hand of God
and then carry us all the way in.
And I am watching you: I am feeling
the connection, knowing I cannot sustain it.
Soon enough, in a hubbub of sandwiches,
hot, sweet drinks and thermos flasks,
gritty, wet towels and spread-eagle costumes,
I will retreat inside myself and you,
you will shrink back, become again
the father I am destined not to know.
There are too many children and I am too small;
my song goes unheard amid the clamour.
Now, displaced and sent tumbling by this salt rush and roar,
I am a dogfish in this rock pool of sharks.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Kennack Sands, Cornwall, circa 1957. There were fewer of us children then.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem, which was first published in My Cornwall magazine, in 2014 comes from a series of poems prompted by my time spent with old black and white photographs and the very early childhood memories that came with them. This would-be collection has the working title of Frozen Moments: An Essex Girl’s Childhood, and many of the pieces centre on my grandparents and their home in Aveley in Essex. This particular poem, however, is about my relationship with my father and a holiday spent Kennack Sands in Cornwall. We used to go there every year until, at some time in the very early sixties, a great storm destroyed the beach and so with great reluctance we moved on to take our holidays elsewhere. Although his own father was a true Cockney, my dad found his spiritual home in Cornwall when, as a “Bevin Boy,” he was conscripted to work in the tin mine at South Crofty near Redruth.


Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt
was born in Essex, UK, but now lives in Cornwall. After many years spent working as a teacher of English Literature she is delighted to have at last re-invented herself as a writer of poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared in more than a hundred magazines, journals, and anthologies including –- and of this she is particularly proud — the recently published Wave Hub: New Poetry from Cornwall edited by Dr. Alan M. Kent and published by Boutle.

Laura beach
Summer Day at Huntington Beach
by Laura Grace Weldon

I tick with alarm clock worry.
My sister is afraid of nothing.
Not the dark or death or
Jay Preslan down the street
who pushes kids in front of cars.

Look at her run into the water
while I stand squinting. She
doesn’t pinch her nose
to dive under. Doesn’t pause
before splashing back
strange splashing kids. Doesn’t heed
the lifeguard’s megaphoned warning
to stay away from the ropes.

Lake Erie grabs at the shore,
slurps it greedily in foaming waves.
I picture monstrous goggly-eyed fish
lurking under the pier,
ships skudded in the depths,
their lost sailors forever unburied.
I inhale the curved scent
of suntan lotion, clench my toes
in the sand, stand still. Far out,
bobbing in foil-bright waves,
my sister is another being entirely,
straining at the boundary ropes
trying to see all the way to Canada.

I’m squintingly reading a guide to fish species
rather than swimming amongst actual fish.
My nerd tendencies were evident early on.
(Photo taken on the shores of Lake Erie, early 70s)

Laura mug shot

Laura Grace Weldon
is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and a handbook of alternative education, Free Range Learning. She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she’s an editor and marginally useful farm wench. Her background includes leading nonviolence workshops, writing poetry with nursing home residents, facilitating support groups for abuse survivors, writing sarcastic greeting cards, and teaching classes in memoir and poetry. Her work appears in such places as Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor, J Journal, Atlanta Review, Mom Egg Review, Red River Review, Shot Glass Journal, and Pudding House. Connect with her at

matisse stage curtain vivre
poem for kate-anna
by Scott-Patrick Mitchell

on the day they buried
kate-anna, rowdy & i
, we swam: dove deep
into wet love letters of
water, back-stroked on
notes that lamented the
immortality that all
humans lack, how we
all leave life bankrupt
& broke, but so much
richer for experience

in my pool we became
aqua fools, cracked a
bottle of pink champs
open & drank in from
jars, toasting kate-anna
: it’s how she would
have wanted it, my mate
said, dipping waist deep

but i thought: where is all
the confetti; the overlap &
abundance of cat memes
; the death cab for cutie
; tatts & all that; the big
breasts that made even a
guy like me think that yes
, there i can bring my head
to rest, her singing mother
song of instinct to the many
who came, honey to queen
bee, entranced, intoxicated
, in love

alas, there was none of that
, except these memories &
malarkey, my black cat

& now, this poem, bestowal

IMAGE: “Swimming Pool” by Henri Matisse (1938).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott-Patrick Mitchell is an Australian poet whose latest collection, inner pity poems (2016), is available now through Department of Poetry. He recently won the March 2016 Perth Poetry Slam and 2015 WA Poets Inc Creatix Poetry Award plus performed THE 24 HOUR PERFORMANCE POEM at Crack Theatre Festival. For more information please visit Facebook.

swimming pool

Summer Dollar-Sixty
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

Every 17-year-old girl should be granted a summer romance free of acumen. This romance should begin poolside 1973, and it is imperative the girl is susceptible to being caught unawares. A likable boy revisiting his hometown will steal her sandals from the concession stand where she makes barefoot dollar-sixty. She searches the upper deck for the sandals. Below, the manager waits to lock the gate. A huddle of boys leaned on a car wait too. The manager yells up, “What are you doing?” The girl pulls a rubberband free, long tawny hair sweeps around one shoulder. “Looking for my shoes,” she says. The thief lifts the sandals above his head (“I have them”). The boy huddle is impressed with the enormity of his balls. The girl knows she is singled out above the bikini lifeguards; the boy climbs the hill behind the swimming pool every day for her, he wears her pink-gloss smear on his upper lip. Everyone poolside sees. Everyone poolside approves. Two months in, the boy eats a chili pepper on a dare — she is surprised amused impressed, in love. And he hands her a plastic disc that asks: DO YOU WANT TO SCREW? She does of course, and she doesn’t. She nods yes and one night soon his hand pulls her hand down the hill to a shed. There is a leggy spider on a single silk over the cot. Frightened, she tells the spider she doesn’t want to get pregnant. He understands, and he doesn’t. He disappears for a week –– someone sees him get with a bikini lifeguard. She finishes out the summer dollar-sixty. He doesn’t say good-bye.

PHOTO: Carlinville, Illinois, Public Pool.

headshot - clevenger

Wanda Morrow Clevenger
is a Carlinville, Illinois, native.  Over 372 pieces of her work appear or are forthcoming in 134 print and electronic publications.  Her collection of poetry, short fiction, and memoir This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House; 2011) is available at  Her magazine-type blog updated at her erratic discretion is

by Bokyung June

Let me find love
like the
Foam laced waves
folding gently
envelope me into
a silk embrace.

Love, be the waves
and I the shore
return to me, always.

At night the
tide stronger
forcing me to hold on

onto love
like the

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The first time I felt beautiful walking on the beach. (June 3, 2014 at Hermosa Beach, California.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process first starts with clearing my mind and noting the things that happened that day. Bad things, good things — then I minimize them into a single word and try to write a poem off that singular word. Sometimes nothing comes of it, but sometimes it just flows. Either way I always feel glad I picked up that pen.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bokyung June, also known as Ryan Sally, is a Los Angeles poet. Currently living on the border of Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, she has grown to love and enjoy and respect the various cultures that make up the area. She aims to continue honing her craft as a writer and a performer and finds tremendous inspiration from the City of Pomona as well as trying to get in touch with the roots she had left behind at a young age in Korea.

grandma ollie
by Vern Fein

At a California beach,
the sea grabbed Grandma,
almost ended me.
Near the fierce undertow,
deathly afraid of water
(our Mother told us later),
she slipped off her shoes,
stood a few feet in the water.
Crowded beach,
hundreds of bathers,
shading their eyes from the blinding sun.
The riptide pulled,
grinned evilly under the water,
dragged her down and out,
like the wraith she was.
An Olympic swimmer
saw the disappearance,
plunged, grabbed a foot.
A moment longer
she would have slipped away,
a tale told to no one
I would ever know.

PHOTO: Grandma Ollie and grandsons (1948).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The action in this poem actually happened, which means that I almost was not born and able to compose it. This same grandmother was involved in another incident that almost caused the same result. Maybe that will inspire another poem.

Vern Fein

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vern Fein is a retired teacher who finally has the time to write and is delighted to do so. He has published one poem in *82 Review, has two poems pending publication this summer in The Literary Nest, and has a short story pending publication in the online magazine Duende from Goddard College in Vermont.