Low Tide

Curlews still and silent encroach,
a soft curruuu in the distance,
as you approach.
The heron in patient stance,
Stoic and poised,
waits for frogs with determined glances.
Oyster catchers all black and white,
their orange beaks stab like sharp knives,
as they plunge for their lives.
Lugworms burrowed under sand,
fat, pink and frilly,
we giggle and shout;
“Big willies!”
Catching none as we pout.
Little terns scuttle,
their patterns erratic,
as they take flight ,
leaving delicate footprints scattered.
On a craggy, white stained rock,
where colourful sailboats are docked.
The cormorants all slick and black,
wings outstretched- a signal for a bat.
Razor shells, straight and long,
stick out from the sand,
they seem smooth and creamy,
‘till they cut your hand.
Sea anemones glossy and
blood red they shine,
fingers poking and prodding,
“Big itts!” we would chime.
“Periwinkles!” we shriek in delight,
for the best ones we shout and fight.
Dainty, precise and yellow,
inside we spy the wee fellow,
as he retreats into his tiny shell.
Whelks are held up to ears,
for the sounds of the sea ,
makes us cheer,
but pulling them from one another,
we end up in tears.
At mussels we tug and pull,
‘till our buckets are almost full.
With small fists we clasp them tight,
admire the wondrous sight,
of ultramarine blue, wisps of purple hue.
Running our fingers along pink white,
soft and smooth inside.
Then squeezing and trying to prize wide,
the wonderful treat that hides.
Wet fingers slipping on slick shells,
we throw them to the ground as well.
Stamping and stomping with rubber boots,
trying to get to the root,
of the prize that lies inside.
Buckets are full to the brim,
water spilling over the rim,
of the delicious delights.
Then clinging to Mamma’s tights,
we make our way back to the shore.
But a shock has dawned,
as we stifle our yawns.
The sun is setting low,
and there’s nowhere to go,
as low and behold, the horror unfolds.
Looking around,
as the water surrounds,
that awful lapping sound,
and we are still so far from the shore.
So we’re hoisted to Daddy’s shoulders,
as heavy as boulders,
Trouser legs are folded up high,
as we begin to softly cry.
Panic sets in,
and now we must swim,
as the tide begins to rise.
Through the waters we are wading,
as the sun it is fading,
and the birds begin to take flight.
The buckets are dropped,
and the mussels are lost,
as the shoreline comes into sight.
A panic averted,
as the locals are alerted,
to the family who went picking at low tide.
The moral is this,
you may think it is bliss,
but give mussel picking a miss!
Anita Foley -May 2020