Just before Christmas, we met with a small group of four people and one member of the support staff. We decided to chat about food and had a wide-ranging conversation. The opportunities to produce poetry was limited, but the opportunities to share likes and dislikes were very rewarding.
Some people like some things others do not.
Children hate Brussel Sprouts but love fast food.
I hate them, not children, but their choice of nutrition.
I love trout or lemon sole. Toad-in-the-hole goes down well,
but peaches and cream that is my dream.
Grow your own, or pick your own fruit is my queen.
Blackberries, mangos, raspberries and dates.
Bring me a satsuma, a pineapple or grape,
But figs I will leave alone on my plate.
But before the fruit, there comes the meat course.
With lamb cooked in water, or rib-eyed steak.
Pork chops with crackling, but beef dripping is best,
so bring me a cow. I’ll do the rest.
This poem centres on street games. The discussion started by drawing up a list of games that were played as children. The list itself was rather functional and seems to give very little in the way of establishing a “feel” of the times. More effective was encouraging the group to paint a verbal picture of the streets that they played in. This was much more successful and as the discussion continued, so did the imagery and vocabulary. For them (and I include my own memories in this), the streets were empty except for the children. No cars, few adults and just the imagination of children turning plain asphalt into seas, castles or deserts. Indeed, a playground for every child.
Rounders, cricket, tic-tac-toe.
Children on the street!
Whipping top and blind man’s bluff.
Hand-me-down clothes always too big.
Holes in my trousers, shoes and hats,
I looked like Granny Green.
Conkers, marbles, running free.
Front doors open, tea and cakes.
Knock-down ginger, rolling in the grass.
Happy then, but not so now!
Apple scrumping, playing until dark.
Policemen on the street, if we were naughty,
God help you.
What candour, what wit, what knowledge – the bookgroup and I
Together with Helen, the memories fly.
Christmas is coming and reminiscences abound – from here to Barbados they all come around.
From Salvationists singing and the midnight mass – to Christmas kisses for a boy and his lass.
Creeping with parcels to children, but please – don’t make a noise, don’t even sneeze.
When we wake in the morning the turkey is cooking.
The smell is mouth-watering, but our presents are calling – so bacon and eggs, for now, will suffice.
My stocking is full – of chocolates and spice and so many other things that are all quite nice.
Now to church to gaze at the crib in its scene – while others have taken a bus to new places.
But we all return in time for the Queen.
First was the feast and our bellies are bursting – and while we doze we remember our blessings
We didn’t have much money, but whatever we did – there was laughter and smiles each evening
Our day had been lovely, but for many, maybe these memories are mixed.
Forget the bad ones – the good ones are fixed.
So, can I say “thank you” and wish you the best, perhaps next year we can all be blessed.