During a month in Samoa we were fortunate to spend a week on a deserted beach. Well almost deserted. The illusion of an empty paradise was somewhat challenged by the guy who spent all morning grooming the beach for us. I’ve seen it since, more recently in Tenerife. And in Dubai there were whole armies of beach sweepers. And while I’m all for local employment, it struck me as a somewhat pointless activity as the tide and the sunbathers destroys their efforts every day. And it also struck me that the friendly beach cleaner is just the public face of a much bigger industry…
Cleaning up at the beach
Grasping the broom with expert hands
he drags each twig across the sand,
catching coral, shell, stone, leaf,
underneath the pure white grain.
Unnatural mess of tide and rain,
scrubbed and cleaned with light caress.
Nature now a postcard scene,
no dying branch, decaying fruit,
or unsightly root. And with each stroke
his family is fed through tourist luxury.
He passes time, a constant pace;
the public face of an industry,
cleaning up at the beach.