Leo Vincent -- This Septic Isle

Islands have always attracted romantics,
poets and painters and dreamers like me.
So, early one morning I set off for Canvey,
a jewel, I had hoped, in our own silver sea.

Aided by Abdul my stout native bearer
mini-cab driver, factotum and guide,
into the sunrise I journeyed intrepidly,
phrase book, pith helmet and God at my side,

seeking the magic of mythical islands,
coral reefs, palm trees, fertility rites,
rugged marinescapes and smiling young natives
showering each traveller with heady delights.

But all that I found at the end of my journey,
when all’s said and done, was a serious dud
stuck like a boil up the backside of England
fast in its festering estuarine mud.

Abdul refused to set foot past the shoreline.
As for the natives, there greeted my eye
no bare-breasted virgins with garlands of flowers
but girls in stilettos and far too much thigh.

Canvey’s no idyll, no Fiji, no Tonga
against which cerulean wavelets all wash.
Canvey’s a place where the people and scenery
come from the mind of Hieronymous Bosch.