Back on the Old Stomping Ground

Back on the Old Stomping Ground

The rain pours hard and the grey sky emphasises the desolate sea,
The bleak summer-time town
Out of season, out of time
A few shoppers, dedicated to the art file hurriedly
Under umbrellas, under no illusion
This town has seen its better days
That now is a new winter of discontent
Whether snow-bound or flooded
Or bound tightly by the credit-crunch
It is more than just economic depression that looms
The modern world of consumer greed doesn’t want this town
Not the way it was, foreign holidays have left it stranded
Sunning itself on a beach that time forgot
And seeing it now in mid-winter’s grip
I remember that cold and dark time
When this was my home
The memories are mixed and I lack nostalgia

As the grey, cold, angry winter sea
Sweeps the stony beaches and ancient groynes
My eyes and memory are drawn to stately buildings
Lining the Marine Parade, feigning still a forgotten splendour
Now interspersed with young architects’ new-build apartment blocks
The College buildings of my time here
Once fine and noble sea-side hotels have changed again
These once hallowed halls of learning now are home to the chic and fashionable
Designer homes for designer people in a designer-label world

Venture away from the sea front and peek beneath
The façade of neon signs
The tree-lined avenues remain the same
The 1920s Villas still proud and aloof
An air of suburban detachment
Far away from the plastic hubbub of the arcades.

The shop fronts may have changed but
Still the Pier (now devoid of roller-coaster, theatre and performing whale)
Stretches out like a finger
From the town’s clenched fist
Pointing now to the birthing-ground
Of a new-tech wind farm three miles off-shore
The twenty-first century arrives unbidden
Perhaps by some unwanted but here to stay
Here to change forever a Victorian ideal
In my minds eye Clacton-on-Sea will always be the same
But now that I have seen it anew I know
It will never be the same again.



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