From Llandwyn Beach we watch – safely, distantly –
rain clouds, across the bay and the beginnings
of the Irish Sea, obscure the coast
and then the three mountain peaks, one by one,
of the Ll?n Peninsula. We hear thunder
trundle on the high ground and rumble
in the valleys, and see lightning fork,
furnace yellow, in the ash grey clouds.
Watching a storm at such a calm remove
is like two scholars in faux panama hats
watching the past, observing history.
The tide is much further out than ever;
low rocks exposed we have never seen, brown
with rack, adorned with limpets, mussels, clams;
Caernafon Bar ghostly beneath the waves.
We have been side by side on Traeth Llandwyn
at least once almost every year
since August ’62 – the month Mandela
was arrested, and Marilyn Monroe died.
We had walked from Newborough village
through the plantation of pine saplings
to bind the dunes, keep sand from barricading
doors, occupying the cemetery.
We were alone that first summer’s day,
the wide, embracing strand entirely ours.
The wind shifts suddenly with the tide.
We pack away our novels – Colm Toíbín,
Anne Tyler – and fold up our chairs. We pass
a large jubilant family gathering
setting up a windbreak and a barbecue.
As we drive along the metalled road,
through what has become a forest, the rain falls –
wipers flick it away.
Anne TylerAugust '62Caernafon Bay.Colm ToíbínLl?n PeninsulaLlandwyn BeachMandelaMarilyn MonroeNewborough