No one swam in the seas around Britain
when I was a child.
The water was empty beyond the edge
of the shore
even on the warmest of days.
Paddling was as adventurous as it got.
Nothing wetter was allowed,
nothing wetter was desired
in that cold, cold water
with our trousers were rolled up,
or skirts tucked in knickers
we took care not to kick or jump,
care not to let the cold wet waves
go too far.
Now the seas are warming
and clothes purpose made
for playing splash.
No one sits in deckchairs
wearing overcoats and newspaper hats
even on British beaches
it’s bikinis and sunscreen
and most are on the Spanish Costas now
Affluence and climate change
have changed traditions.
Soon we’ll really feel the heat
where will we go then.