Castor Bay

My brother and I would maraud the bay, with driftwood swords
A pair of likely lads, whacking our sticks on the rocks, penning names in the sand
Running from the left of the bay was a jetty of stones
Dad used to say there was a whale buried under there, and we believed him
Though it’s a piece of cake to fool youth
He said there were Indians in the forest, too!

One jocund January day my big brother met with embarrassment
Not so proud then, stood in returning water, held fast
He looked like a broken toothpick stuck in someone’s teeth
Bent in half like a folding bicycle, he tried in vain to dislodge his foot, as the splashing sea soaked his shorts
He thought he was in danger of being over-run
Panic can be funny

The Seagulls screeched in mocking laughter
And as he grew more frantic, cold chips rained from their beaks like little potato bombs

We teased him from the cliffs, standing on the concrete bunkers left over from an old threat
There once was a fear of a Japanese invasion
Maybe some Nippon submarines still waited behind Rangitoto Island, which sat like a poached egg

When the ordeal was over Dad bought him an extra pineapple fritter for dinner
And an ice cream, just to calm him down
I got one too, though Mum said I didn’t deserve it for being so mean


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