Rachel Hawkins-Crockford

the naturist


an easy mistake

I thought you said naturalist

I misheard


we reached the edge of

that woolly stretch of coast

along from Mazarron


the sun just up above

the gravelly shore

heat rising over dusty bushes


everyone else had already

taken their clothes off

plunged into the turquoise water


they frolicked there

like young Durrells

beside an Ionian sea


my dry mouth got thirsty

just from looking at you

and I followed you in


I find I keep revisiting places in my poems that spoke to me once, and speak again now, of some kind of sense of being in and part of nature in a way that feels very far away from how I live now in suburban Bristol. When I visited the naturist beaches along the coast from Mazarron with my husband and children more than a decade ago, we were simply seeking the wildness of those places away from the town and other people. It was just a happy coincidence that we could take our clothes off and run free into the sea. In this poem I re-imagine that place with some young lovers frolicking there instead.