By Natalie Scott
My Daily Walk
is different today. This time
it’s ‘permitted’. My one attempt
at exercise: Alum Chine to the pier
and back. Cars grow layers of dust
as people take to their bikes
and belt it down the prom past signs
which say pedestrians have priority.
I taste the air of their passing:
fresh linen and sweat. Too close.
A black bumble bee crawls dosily
over the path, making his way
to the beach. Slowly, carefully.
Masked policemen rest their elbows
on railings to speak to a bather
who made the mistake of laying
down her towel. Her head is tilted,
defiant, retaining its position as
the scene shrinks from my view.
The pier is closed, of course,
but its neon advertising sign yells
STAY HOME, while among
the wooden struts below, a girl plays
with bucket and spade. ESSENTIAL
TRAVEL ONLY. People dodge
each other to keep the two-metre gap
and avoid being mown down by bikes
on their first rides since Christmas.
The sand carries more seagull prints
than human, deepened by the
mating dance. I turn back.
A man on a mobility scooter moshes
to The Boys are Back in Town.
And a golden retriever brushes
my leg, blissfully ignorant of the rules.
The bee is motionless. I wait for
his wings to twitch. A family
has set up camp on a bench.
The police are on their way.
Natalie Scott is an internationally published poet and lecturer. Her award-winning collection Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was published by Valley press on International Women’s Day, 2020.
My daily walk was written right at the start of lockdown and very much captures the bittersweet feelings I was experiencing at that time. I’m currently living in Bournemouth but am originally from the north east.