Two thousand yards into the blue
the pier shoots out from Southend beach.
It stretches like it always knew
the length, the distance it would reach.
Iron girders set by flames
and planks like ribs against a spine;
fired by coal from Cheshire plains
and grown from woods of Scottish pine.
The boardwalk cuts through morning mist
and carves a pathway in the surf.
How strange that we might not exist
if Southend Pier had not come first.
What changing times these boards have seen;
what vivid memories they recall.
Boldly facing salty seas
through sun and shipwrecks, joy and storms.
Here seagulls sail like paper kites
and plunge headfirst for sinking chips
while starling murmurs sweep the skies
as times remembered leave our lips.
And when the sun sinks into sleep,
we’re standing hand in hand with you.
You’ll say ‘Let me dance, let me dance and don’t weep:
hold each other and start dancing too.’
So we’ll stand, then we’ll turn and we’ll head for the shore;
watch the carousel circle then circle no more.
But we’ll run and we’ll jump and we’ll seize every day,
stamping each plank with joy as we’re bounding away.
Catch clouds in our throats and get lost in the air;
feel the sunlight at night when it shines everywhere.
We’ll run till the length of the boardwalk runs out
and we’ll swing to the beat of a big band playing out.
We’ll dance to the end, till the end of our years.
and you’ll dance, and you’ll dance at the end of the pier.