Expectations by Lynn White

I had never been to the seaside.
I knew what to expect, though.
I had a book about it.
There were lots of pictures of rock pools
and the strange creatures living there.
My favourites were the hermit crabs.
I was looking forward to those the most.
I had a little bucket to collect them in.


But there were no rock pools,
at this seaside.
Just flat sand with a thin distant line
of cold grey sea.
Why?
No one said.


I found some shells
to put in my bucket.
I liked the tiny pink ones best.
But most were broken
and not worth collecting.
Why?
No one said.


No shells, no hermit crabs, but
they showed me how to put damp sand
into my miniature bucket.
with my miniature spade
and how to pat it down 
and tip it out to make ‘sand pies’.
I was supposed to like doing this.
Why?
No one said.


They gave me some paper flags
on thin wooden sticks.
I could stick them in 
the top of my sand pies.
I was supposed to like doing this.
Why?
No one said.


I thought I’d save up my flags
until I’d climbed the mountain
at my auntie’s.
When I got to the top
I’d arrange them into my initials
so everyone would know I’d been there.
I started to practice this.
But they said the mountain 
was a slag heap, not a mountain
and therefore out of bounds.
Why?
No one said.


We stayed on the beach a long time.
Then we went to a toy shop.
My father bought me a doll 
with real hair, they said.
But it was made of nylon.
I called her Gloria.
That was the best bit.
but nothing was 
as it had been
inside my head.





*First published in Silver Birch Press, Beach and Pool Series, 2016

Photo by Nav Photography on Pexels.com

About the Poet:

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal and So It Goes.

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