I trained as a teacher at Brighton Training College, on the South coast of England. Summers were, of course, erratic, but there were days of intense blue heat. At such times we would clamber out of our windows on to the irregularly-shaped roof-tops and sun-bathe leaning up against the lead. This is a memory from sixty years ago when a heat-wave ended as suddenly as it had begun.
DEATH OF A HEATWAVE.
The lead is still warm,
Here, between the sloping salty rooves.
The wall, rough as a cat's tongue,
Is gentle to the back as a newly-vacated bed.
Yet the heat-wave has gone.
It burnt itself out like a too-brilliant match,
And the ash is grey,
The grey of the leaden skies above the lead.
Up from the sea came the mist.
There was a hill and a silver spire.
And now there is only a grey net
In which golden gnats are caught and die.
The sky closed-in upon the sun,
Like the shutter of a dusty camera.
And suddenly it was cold.
Yet the lead is still warm.