St Boniface Down

St Boniface Down

looks down on a sparkling sea;

on the land that slips

on the tide that rips

away from my childhood me.


On the lemonade

on the esplanade

of Victoria's Ventnor spa;

with its pier-walk slat

and its deck-chair tat

its beach still covered with tar.



Down the brand new way

to our Orchard Bay

and my inmost beat to life:

the shingles warm sigh

as ceaseless waves die

with my children and my wife.


Where my father dies

where my father lies

on the brow of Boniface Hill:

in the self-same farms

and the self-same arms

that held him  -  and hold him still.


St Boniface Down

St Boniface Down

looks down on a churning sea

on the land that slides

on the tides that race

away from me.

                                              1985

In Vectis