With scooped-out sand, shells, and spread-eagled hands
Toddlers try to divert the incoming tide
From their castles and moats and their plastic boats.
They shriek and clap as the steep walls slide.
Old people slowly plod the windy strand.
Just the everlasting to contend with now,
Just the sea, rock, cliff and sloping sand.
They hunch and bend, a deferential bow.
Grey spume and guilt accompany their walk.
They know the kids’ castles will all fall down-
Just the sea, rock, cliff and sloping sand –
Unless they can make them understand.