The Wave

People lay in the sun
Children played along the shore
The sun beat down
The water sparkled
On the horizon appearance of calm
Another day
Another swim
The perfect Christmas holiday.
People lay in the sun
Children played along the shore
A fishing boat heading out
Parasols going up
Restaurants frying food
Another day
Another tourist
An ordinary working day.
The sun dips behind a parasol
Which hides a frisson out to sea
That heralds a sudden surge
A thin blue line of water builds to a terrifying
An unrelenting splurge of nature.
It sneaks its way into the beach
Felling all in its path
Swirling its flotsam and jetsam
Like a demented spin dryer
Smashing boats and deck chairs,
Swirling cars and tables
Splaying limbs and torsos
Filling hotel rooms
Pushing on and on.
Then like an elastic band it pulls itself back
Sucking and engulfing everything into its
Energy vortex
And with renewed ferocity hurls itself upon the battered beach again
And again
Sparing nothing in its path.
People lie in the sun
Bloated bodies missing heads and limbs
Children no longer on the shore
The sun beats down
The angry waters froth their angry coloured spume
The blue turned brown and khaki
The holiday turned trauma nightmare
All livelihoods demolished by a wave.
Men, women, children
Gone forever.
Only the animals
Intimately connected to the earth
Felt the tremors and
Headed for the hills
Antenna alert
Sensing danger
Smelling death
Survival in their skin.
People lie in the sun
Children play along the shore
Fisherman set sail their boats
People mend their parasols
The sun beats down
Human vultures peck around the beach
Picking up remains
Not missing an opportunity
To make a buck.
For life goes on
The dead are buried
Some in graves
Some enfolded by the sea.
Trade starts up
School resumes
People swim
The water flows
The beach returns to life
The tides relentless move their waves against the shore.
Houses repaired
Roads rebuilt
Landscapes recover
Animals return
And people remember:
Battered bodies and bruised hearts recall
The day, the time, the hour
The wave swept in
People remember.

 Sarah Krzeczunowicz, January 2005