Like yesterday the sun has taken charge:
Wind no more than a nervous lover’s sigh,
The sea, bullied into stillness
Wants no trouble, tries to hide
By matching a cerulean sky.
In the dunes behind we see him,
Gangly Achilles jogging down.
Head up, as if on a mission,
Skirting spiky tufts of bent grass,
As he meanders to the beach.
Come again to flirt with Moira,
Our raven-haired beauty, hailing
From Motherwell, on the Clyde.
He stops and stands out in the sun
Slitting his eyes to peer at us
Looking for her into the gloom
Under the vine thatched canopy.
“Yasou, Achilleus” says Liz,
“Come, come sit with us, there’s room here.”
We shuffle space beside Moira
But he smiles and walks around the table
Sits down facing her. “Here is fine,” he says,
“So I see the beautiful Greek lady
Who thinks she is Scottish. I can’t believe.”
Irene comes trundling across the sand
From the beach kitchen with an extra glass
And we toast our Greek guest with retsina.
Irene waits smiling till we finish
Then tells us wistfully, Liz translating,
That there is no baklava today.
Pointing to the canopy above us
She gestures that we help ourselves, then leaves.
Gallant Achilles, kicks off his sandals
Leaps up on the table, starts handing down
Thick bunches, one for each of us.
“No, no. Don’t eat the grapes.” He says,
Jumping down, taking Moira’s hand
He leads us to the water’s edge.
“Grapes must be washed,” he says, “the salt is good.”
Turning to Moira he asks her,
“Don’t you wash your grapes in Scotland?”
“Och aye!” She says. “We dip them in the Clyde.”
by Hugh Marchand