On Margate seafront, towards the Turner,
there’s a new wall in fake stone and granite,
grey as the sky on this January afternoon.
It looks out of place here at the seaside
where you expect to be leaning on
flakey blue railings, blotched with rust
like cigarette burns, but still as bright
as the memory of the summer skies
in all those glossy deckle-edged postcards,
and parallel lined with striated deckchairs,
puffing up in the wind like a row
of fancy pigeons ready to take off
towards that shelter where Eliot
looked out across the waves
from waste land, trying to find words
to connect nothing and nothing.
Here, you can still find railings – but painted green,
like the Green Shield stamps which we brought
in sticky books to redeem at the old showroom
just across the road, its plate glass still reflecting
the golden sands and a rumpled, eau-de-nil sea.
Later, as the winter sun slips to its descent,
it glows like a portal to some peripheral world,
and the pink clouds vanish just as quickly
as the candy floss always did,
Note: Dreamland is a recently-revived amusement park in the recently-revived seaside town of Margate.
Dreamland by Mary Anne Smith won First Prize, Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2017) judged by Abegail Morley.