A Sudden Summer Sun
on St. Bride’s Bay

Towels and Colas gritted by the sand,
more brown than golden sand on a day when
a warm bluster of westerly wind
is the beach’s feature.

She is just shy, gauche really, seventeen.
She just does not want
to walk down the beach on such spindle shanks,
such sad bare legs exposed

(What do we know of these legs?
They are nice enough, rounded enough.
The rest of her, the shoulders, arms, OK.)

She huddles behind the windbreak until
the Mediterranean moment
when the sun rushes out, just as she peels her way
through the spider-written letter
from the boy from France. 

(What do we know of him? Seventeen also.
Not gauche but not adroit
Loves languages and music and,
in the grace of a reserved adolescence,
loves the girl to the point of adoration.)

She reads his civilities, pleased, and then the phrase,
If I cannot become to see you this August,
my summer, he will be ruined 

and she flowers, and walks,
on nicely-rounded spindle legs,
to the water, in the sun,
feeling herself a mademoiselle,
a mannequin, a belle.

Robert Nisbet

If you have any comments on this poem, Robert Nisbet would be pleased to hear from you.