Martin Parker: Blue Flag Beach Blues

A Blue Flag is far from a good enough reason
For Man to go swimming, whatever the season.

Look, the sea contains nothing to thrill or delight us.
It's coated with slurry and slimy detritus,
While down in the dark of its festering deep
Lurk sinister creatures which swim, float and creep
With the single intention of causing us harm.
No, the sea is a place that's devoid of all charm.
Its state's a disgrace and it's badly infected.
I reckon it's best left ignored and rejected.

But doctors suggest we should swim in all weathers.
I tried it. Gulls pecked me. Crabs nipped at my nethers
Amid the dread certainty that I would get some
Nasty contusions from flotsam and jetsam,
Plus fatal Vesuvial buboes and boils
From its coating of faeces and slicks of thick oils,
Yet the medics seem puzzlingly keen to commend it.
If health is their reason I can't comprehend it.

Aren't they aware that when push comes to shove in it
Fish need to defecate, piss and make love in it?
They've done so each hour since the dawning of time,
Creating thick strata of bodily slime.
Just see what that did to the creatures which fed in it:
You'll not find a fossil that isn't stone dead in it.
No, calcification in bodily waste
For the rest of eternity's not to my taste.

The sea is a problem which Man's not resolved
And until he has done so I'll not get involved.