The signs don’t work ‘cos the vandals took the handles
but the dune charioteers look after their own.
(It seems obscurity is merely an absence
of old fruit boxes and black paint.)
Along a graded road as straight as
the line on the forestry map,
we inspect the commercial pines at parade attention,
shoulders branch length apart.
Behind the parade ground is the local Flanders Field,
vast rolling hills dotted with the grave-stumps
of the Unknown Pine Trees
like a crew-cut magnified X 1000.
As the roller-coaster road begins to seem pointless
if not endless
we consider turning back but morbid curiosity drives us on
to the final crest
which lifts the descending gloom as if accompanied
by the opening chords of ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’.
The hill top looks down in worship
on the virgin white altar of the tabernacle of the sea.
What first seems the surf-wash of a tidal wave
and then a snow-field surviving mid-summer
floats its nature slowly up the slopes, stating without arrogance, but,
in no uncertain terms,
‘These are the dunes of Discovery Bay
and they have more than your measure.’
The descent to the camp ground underlines the point.
Huddled in a three-tent enclave in a corner of the acre clearing,
their sand stallions muted and hobbled,
a group gathers in the late afternoon sun
to eat, drink and be unified and fortified
against the impending night.
A small hillock provides us with a measure of privacy and protection
from the insistent wind.
The tent pitched, a meal begun, a flagon opened.
A red-eyed knight in blue track-suit armour appears
to herald the despatching of two snakes in the vicinity.
His malevolence at our lack of vehicular sand-ripper is overcome
by the ethics of the Arthurian Card Table.
He exits, stage left, weaving,
as we blare the car radio
to scare away the mind snakes.