Home Arts & Lit Birthday Party/Weston-super-mare – Creative Fridays

Birthday Party/Weston-super-mare – Creative Fridays


5045502202_41476791a4_oWith the first Creative Friday of the New Year Online Books Editor Sophie Beckett treats us to two of her poems…


Birthday Party

Eloise gives out handmade invitations

To her birthday party. The paper is thick

And veined with pressed flowers.

Other children feign nonchalance until they feel

The texture of privilege in their sweaty hands.


Her mother has baked a pink castle in smooth sponge.

The scrubbed expanse of kitchen is a fairy palace

Balloons and gauzy pastels smother the walls.

Her father stands solid at the glossy front door

Crushing the hands of arriving adults.


Her mother begins to hand out refreshments.

The adults glance at her trembling hands, turn soon,

Watch the children in the garden. A lovely day.

A satisfying tableau. The theme next year

Will be ballerinas, her father informs them,


Eloise has started ballet you see.

He calls her over, show them what you’ve learnt so far.

An arabesque perhaps. He holds her body straight,

Pulls her leg higher. Take a picture, he orders.

Her tendons strain. Her mother fumbles with the camera.





The first flat, wet sand glimpsed from a train window

Air full of a tang as yet unidentified.

The swelling of hope, of anticipation,

Of relief, small pale arms reaching


For the sun. We had arrived.

And in my great plan, my grand theory

I knew the sand would solve everything.

The porter handed our luggage to my parents


And smiled. But we were gone already

The children, towards the gritty sand,

The mud, the sea. Our mother bought ice creams

We opened wide, took in the sick sweet


Sticky richness, took in everything.

I glanced sideways at my parents, stood together

On the sea wall, their flapping coats touching.

It was early to bed, covered in sand,


And we slept so quickly, deeply,

That the voices raised in the dark of that night

Might have belonged to our dreams,

There was no telling. We woke


To a grey morning and my mother

Eating ice cream on her own. Later

There was a competition, a big one,

All the kids building castles in the sand.


The others looked to me, but I had no grand theories

For the moment. I had nothing.


Sophie Beckett

Online Books Editor


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