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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, August 12, 2002
    And they have all walked by the genius sea
     
    A day for rooting down and strengthening. That means revisiting old, familar, favourite people and places. They included Liverpool Central Library, one of the city's spectacular Edwardian monoliths, today busy with
    a summertime mix of visitors.

    Then, onto Liverpool's Cathedral of Football - Goodison Park, of course. Gentle pre-season buzz around the ground and in the club shop, anticipating the new kit and snapping up end-of-line bargains. I got a tshirt for £6; no doubt I'll be wearing it on GB Saturday (to shake hands with Sunderland fans).

    And finally, to my parents' for a bite to eat and a little time on the seafront promenade at the bottom of their road. Very clear view over the Irish Sea to the Snowdonia hills today. I grew up here, and remain fascinated by this scene as it changes through the seasons, as so many other people are. I wrote a poem about it once; it remains a favourite:

    And they have all walked by the genius sea:
    Old men and bad men
    Travellers and typists
    Middle-aged women with varicose legs

    And they have understood the tides of eternity:
    Grubby boys and big boys
    Plimsoll-clad runners
    Flaxen-haired girls with love on their minds

    And they have been anointed by the damp salt wind:
    Vicars and sailors
    Paupers and prisoners
    Singers and salesmen with stories to tell

    And they have all praised the glittering horizon:
    Communists and cripples
    Lunatics and lovely girls
    Busty young wives with wombsfull of life

    Old soldiers, young cousins,
    Divorcees with dogs:
    The tides of eternity have all called out to them
    And they have all walked by the genius sea.