Shingle beaches, pebble-dashed,
Where armoured dunes are heaped and smashed
By hefting surf that tills and rolls
On up the beaches, spits and shoals,
Whatever flints that storm and time can prize
And toss like bowls –
All layered out by weight and size.
Gravels from the cliffs and beds
In blacks and greys, in blues and reds –
These bucket-breakers of the strand,
These castles that can never stand,
Upon a beach-head built by wave on wave
Of new-formed land,
Of nuggets dug from out the grave.
Pushing back against our soles,
The sucking wash between its holes –
This is no barefoot summer beach,
But haunt of limpet, kelp and leech.
Yet stones to scree to grains shall grow
Along this tidal reach
By silicates just going with the flow.