Tag Archives: poetry

Dinner with Nana

I have said this before and I am happy to say it again. I am in awe of people who can remember their past, particularly their childhood past,  in high-definition clarity.  I see and hear  my past through  flickering scenes of snowy noise, crackling static, fragmented pixels, and faulty signals. Occasionally, I am able to focus on what seems to be a clear, defined, image, yet when I try to hold it, to still it in a frame ,  this is what happens: a  split screen of alternative possibilities.

Frame One:  Dinner with Nana

peas boil, custard bakes,
leg of lamb on stove top rests,
roasted juices, pink.
“Bloody meat,” sighs Nana Maud.
we grin, dinner not done yet.

Frame Two: Dinner with Nana

The peas are boiling, the custard bakes,
gravy, silky and peppery, simmers and plops.
Nana, pinny-wrapped, and double-bent, is busy’
with sharp-pronged fork, testing the mid-day roast.

She pierces the bubbles of crisp skin
and pearlescent fat, to the bone inside,
and watches, as the juices spurt,
clear and sweet.

“It’s done, ” she declaims, satisfied.
“It’s well-cooked,” she adds, decisive,
“I don’t like bloody mutton.”
No part of sheep would defy that tone.

We grin, we tease, in mock horror.
“Nana! Bloody? Did you say bloody?”
Intent on serving dinner hot,
blind to childish nonsense, she huffs,
“No, no, of course, I didn’t, but
I don’t like bloody meat.”

We giggle quietly into plates, bountiful
with succulent tenderness.
We eat, pudding next,
replete, content,
knowing, even then, we would remember
the day we pretended Nana swore.

Which of these pictures , I wonder, is closest to the reality of that day? Sadly, I can no longer say for sure. The editorial hand of time has steadily and stealthily, spliced and resectioned memories which once seemed solid; immutable.

But this much I do know:

Both recollections are faithful to the essence of my grandmother, and the good food, love, and security which were produced in copious quantities in her little, sunny, kitchen.

She was  a hard-working person; always busy around the home. She was independent, despite being almost blind in one eye. She was  capable, she was small, and she was strong. Chopping kindling wood for her fire and coal range were daily tasks she undertook into an advanced age.

Her cooking was excellent.  Every kind of food she gave me, be it boiled chicken, bottled apricot, roast dinner, or pikelet , I remember with pleasure.

And, as for those roasts ~ Nana preferred mutton and hogget to lamb but, whatever cut it was, she didn’t like it rare, or to say it plainly, bloody.  On that fact, my memory is 100% clear.

 

(This post is in memory of  Nana Maud who died 42 years ago, today, the first day of spring.)

In Memory of Nana

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Hands

Hands.

I love them,

Paul Engle "Paul Engle" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Paul Engle" href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_Engle.jpg">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Paul Engle “Paul Engle” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

especially helping hands,

 

‘Don’t wait for the wind to blow you through the door,
If you need help, here is my hand, I said.’
( Moving In by Paul Engle, 1908-1991)

creating words to hold the soul.

‘..We live by no mind that is only reason,
For there are in us strengths older than thought –
Memory of moon-earthed seeds, the treason
Of spring in our hearts, old family-named corn lands –
Eternal in us as ancestral-wrought
Curve of our thigh and the gripped shape of hands.’

( Earth in our Blood by Paul Engle, 1908-1991)

Curve and shape of hand

Curve and shape of hand, hold the soul.

This post is dedicated to Linda at  The Task at Hand, and to all those bloggers who pursue the craft of the wordsmith.

'..........I  said your hand Was curved like wave-marks on the sand.' Lost Things by Paul Engle 1908-1991

‘……….I said your hand
Was curved like wave-marks on the sand.’ Lost Things by Paul Engle 1908-1991

 

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