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Vacancies

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Originally Published: 27th January 2021

Letter image by gR 

This poem was recently placed 1st = in Brian Strand's "A" (1064) Poetry Contest.


 

The coastal train began to slow As two rails merged together. It stopped at the end of a single line In freezing winter weather. The arrow on the 'Way Out' sign Led me through a covered hall But my ticket proving I had paid Was never checked at all. I walked downhill towards the sea And left behind the train Motionless at its terminus And exposed to driving rain. A small boutique was “CLOSING DOWN!!” On its "FINAL BIG SALE" day. But despite saying “OPEN” on its door It had long closed anyway. I walked past moving spinning lights That chased and made a noise Inside a place where grabbing cranes Missed grabbing plastic toys. A gull perched on a wet sea wall Shrieked out its gull like sound. It never moved as I walked by But stared and stood its ground. The mist and sky were grey and one And rain was teeming hard As thick wet sheets of 'nothingness' Blanked out the promenade. A man head bowed against the storm And dog chasing its tail Were at the mercy on the beach Of rain that froze to hail. And all the things I thought I knew Were on a different street With signs now boasting "FREE WI-FI" And "BEDROOMS ALL EN-SUITE" I never found that B & B Recalled through misty eyes But I think I found the park and swings Now shrunk in shape and size. There were parts of town I recognized And parts that I’d forgot The crazy golf had disappeared But the Beach Café had not. With all its red formica tables And warm and cosy light The small café dispelled the cold And put the rain to right. There was beauty and some sadness too Jolting memories by the sea. I’d reached out to a time long gone.. ..And it half reached back to me. A truncated version of this poem with background sound added can be found here: Vacancies: Edit with Sound

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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Date: 2/3/2022 11:39:00 AM
Gary, congratulations on your win with this wonderful treasure trove of memories - the new and the old, the things grieved and the things celebrated all against the unchanging backdrop of the sea. Delightful in its ecstasy and agony! Blessings!
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Gary Radice
Date: 2/4/2022 12:57:00 PM
Thanks Sam! I couldn't have described my intentions for the central theme of the poem better myself. :) Cheers - Gary
Date: 8/27/2021 4:23:00 AM
Gary, I liked the other half too. A tour de force in the old style, everything I admire. Beautiful.
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Gary Radice
Date: 8/27/2021 11:10:00 AM
Thank you Greg for your valued comments. I love to tell stories through verse so I'm really glad you like the poem. Cheers - Gary
Date: 8/26/2021 10:37:00 PM
As thick wet sheets of 'nothingness' Blanked out the promenade. - Beautiful. Congratulations!
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Gary Radice
Date: 8/27/2021 12:08:00 AM
Thank you Christuraj. I put myself in the picture and wrote just what I saw. Cheers - Gary
Date: 2/2/2021 12:10:00 PM
Happy memories Gary, you wonder sometimes where did the years go. Tom
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Gary Radice
Date: 2/2/2021 12:39:00 PM
You do indeed Tom. Thanks for reading...A time before everyone started jetting off to warmer climes for holidays. I remember the family holidays with much affection. :)
Date: 2/2/2021 6:20:00 AM
That’s a wonderful trip you took Gary, a memory of the past and how good to have kept the letter you wrote all those years ago... Belle
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Gary Radice
Date: 2/2/2021 6:47:00 AM
Thank you Belle. :)
Date: 1/31/2021 4:41:00 AM
This touched me deeply. I too have gone back to places from my past. So bitter-sweet! Time changes everything. I love the letter you wrote as a child and to see how you write now. Wonderful poem, Gary. ~ Elaine
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Gary Radice
Date: 1/31/2021 4:53:00 AM
Thank you Elaine. I have always wanted to write a poem on this subject but never got round to it until now. Time does change everything. I'm so pleased about the comments I have received for this poem as I put it down as one of my own favourites. Cheers - Gary
Date: 1/29/2021 9:12:00 AM
Very good nostalgic writing, with the pain of loss as well. It's weird to go back to a place and see half of it changed or gone.
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Gary Radice
Date: 1/30/2021 2:55:00 AM
Thank you Andrea. The summers were always long and hot as a child.
Date: 1/28/2021 1:42:00 PM
The blight of change on our nostalgia and desire to return to a treasured slice of life so well spoken Gary. Bits and pieces still remained for you in the chrysalis of happy and pensive. Well done my friend. Well done! Congratulations!
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Gary Radice
Date: 1/29/2021 2:36:00 AM
Thank you Sam - You are so right about the blight of change and the desire to return to a treasured slice of life :) I guess life's places change with time just as we humans do so the chasm between the memory and reality forever widens. Memories live in a context all of their own don't they? :) Cheers - Gary
Date: 1/28/2021 1:20:00 AM
This is brilliant,Gary. Such wonderful touches throughout and the 'grabbing cranes' lines made me laugh and brought back feelings of similar disappointment. I really enjoyed reading such sentiments and can fully relate to revisiting a place that has held such happy memories and being disappointed as so much had changed.The last two lines form a perfect ending. I'm so glad that this was on the winners' list and therefore brought to my attention.
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Gary Radice
Date: 1/28/2021 2:18:00 AM
Hi Wendy. Thank you for your kind and wonderful words. There is something beautiful and poignant about a seaside town out of season and all the memories that are wrapped up with it. The poem itself I feel needs a little neatening up in places to help with cadence / flow etc but on the whole I'm very happy with how it turned out. Cheers - Gary