There is one thing you can not miss on the Den and that is the pier.
Constructed between 1865 and 1867 it has been a centre of changing entertainment for visitors for over a hundred years. It has also had its share of disasters culminating this year in the damage inflicted by the winter storms.
It has been a subject of poetry too. This first poem, ‘The Right Side of the Pier’ by Nan Dalton was read at the 1996 Teignmouth Festival by Brian Matthew, actor and broadcaster.
The Right Side of the Pier
Beneath the Pier perch Tom,
Young Jim, atop a barnacle-laden beam,
their summer split – cockling on the Salty,
then climbing up the struts
beneath the Pier.
Sandwiched by the sand below,
the boards above, they listen to the children’s
drumming feet as they race towards the rides,
boat swings and dodgem cars,
above the Pier.
‘When I’m a man’ says Tom
‘I’ll play them penny pinball machines.’
‘And win that watch for me’ Young Jim replies
‘you know the one – silver
but with golden hands.’
The sun goes down, the moon comes up.
Sea sounds change, waves grow and gather speed,
advance in dangerous leaps, attack the Pier.
Too late to jump and run, desperate
they cling to their beam.
‘What if our Jack hadn’t been out there
Their Mother cuffs Tom around the ear.
‘From now on you keep Young Jim
topside the Pier.’
Above the Pier lie Tom,
Young Jim, atop the rows of peeling
painted planks, their summer split –
cockling on the Salty – watching lovers
underneath the Pier.
‘Tidd’n the same’ sighs Tom
‘I miss the shells, the crabs, the tide.’
‘One day you’ll win that watch for me’
Young Jim replies ‘you know the one
– silver but with golden hands.’
The sun goes down, the moon comes up,
the sea advances on the Pier.
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