The broken sign that pointed crookedly, loath to
Allow another stranger here. Perhaps this Tom
Or Dick has plans for progress that will tow
The boats away and make them "quaint"; that will tame
This wild coast with pale rheumatics who tee
Off where sea-egg shells and fisherman
Now lie with unconcern. Naked children
And their sticks flush crabs from their holes
and a bare-legged girl, dress in wet folds
Wades slow towards a waning sun.
And the sea tossed angrily
For it knew that freedom here was short.
It remembered other coasts
Made mod by small-eyed men in big cars
And as before it knew she'd vanish
The bare-legged girl; the children and their crabs
Would leave; a better world would banish
them to imitation coconut trays
But those small eyes reflecting dollar signs
Have not yet found the crooked finger to this peace;
And down the beach the women bathe their sons
Who'll never talk, like Pap, of fishing seasons past.
Only memory will turn down this way
|Skeetes Bay, Barbados|
On this beach were sea-egg shells once lay.
Robert Lee (born 1948) Barbados