Coastal defence – Ann Atkins

Coastal defence

Some days I’m entertainment
sunshine and slot machines
donkey rides and ice creams
Others days I’m out of season
boarded up shops
sandbags to fight the floods,
though it’s not really seasonal
can’t always predict when the storms will come.

More often it’s dull,
no sunshine, no showers
just clouds and nothing much going on.
The pub’s open, only an old man with a dog
making a pint last, doing a crossword,
telling the barman how he hates it when the tourists come
the barman nods, but knows without them there’s no job.
On those days the time drags, but it’s easier to manage
online, laughs and smiles, postcard pictures and selfies
Occasionally letting a glimpse of the past sneak in.

You are there for all of it,
not just for the good times
not judging when the waves
break over the shore.
Sitting with me until the tide goes out, then clearing up
you don’t allow me to merely exist
like some rundown seaside town
no one wants to visit

You’re days out and proud parades
showing off my glory days
Giving me hope when all I have is doubt.
You seem to think that I’m not some
once-was-great before-the-pier-was-taken-away place
where the good times were long ago, but there’s a future,
not the same as in the days before package holidays
created a paradigm shift, but still worth investing in.


Ann Atkins attended her first open mic night in early 2018 and has since developed an increasing passion for writing and performing. She recently won a poetry slam and has been invited to compete in the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam 2020.

Her writing is mostly observational on life’s ups and down’s, often injecting humour into serious subjects.  She has been affected by depression and feels that writing is a great outlet.

Ann lives in North Warwickshire and is a former teacher, who now manages property. When she is not writing and performing, she also enjoys art, tai-chi and walking with her partner Tracy and lurcher Kizzy. Ann is a member of Coventry Stanza.

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