This sundown gathering
of locals, travellers, recent émigrés
on the first balmy day—like the partly random
arrangement of stones on an ancient site
or a patchy memory of this place,
small groups seated in circles, recumbent in rows.
Brightly clad, semi-naked bodies
adapt themselves to the feel of sand; their curves
complementing the arc of beach, curl of waves.
Surfers paddle out on the gentle swell—wet skin,
shining amber. Catching slow breaks on longboards,
they ride with the ease of the hour. A woman
floating on her back savours the buoyant lassitude.
I think of Monet, Gauguin, Cézanne;
they would know what to make of this spot:
the lavender wash, bathers lifting their towels
the father with two girls ambling around the rockpools—
lingering over molluscs, anemones, cunjevoi,
a crab in a crevice with one claw
The buildings stacked on the headland
—neither elegant nor elemental—
but the sun gilds gutters and windows
like strips of gold ribbon and squares of gift paper.
Two skaters at the bowl
push one another, and a bull terrier
barks, tugging at his master’s
lead. A Harley motors into
the carpark as the garish lights
of an outdoor bar stammer on:
A new scene—one for a van Gogh