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.
A very seasonal theme, but with a focus on remembering the past and reflecting on the question “What was Christmas like when you were a child?”. It was a small group this week with only three members (Doreen, Olive and Joan), but they all contributed. What is interesting is that rather than just a straightforward description, they were eager to express the feelings they had as children. They remembered and related to the feelings of boredom, jealousy, excitement and feeling thrilled by the prospect of Christmas. They expressed these child-centred feelings with great warmth and fondness. Christmases as an adult would never be the same.
The Present Past
A china-faced doll with moving eyes,
A second-hand bike blocks on the pedals so I could reach.
A new watch strap, comic books, Desperate Dan, Huckleberry Fin
But all I wanted was a teddy bear – I make up for it now.
The Games Past
Card games – crib, patience and snap.
Bored with board games
After dinner losing at draughts, Ludo and snakes and ladders
I sit under the table sulking.
How I long for blind man’s bluff and kiss chase.
Pass the Past Food
Plucking chickens, skinning rabbits and making Christmas pud.
Stir and make a wish, throw in a Joey – a thruppeny bit.
I hope I find it later.
Early December Mother makes the cake covered with marzipan.
Later mince pies, sausage rolls and trifle while I am tasting nothing more than glue.
As I make the paper chains.
Iffley Village – picking holly and ivy and looking for mistletoe to hang over the picture frames,
Coal fires making the living room live with colour and warmth.
Waking up in the middle of the night.
Sleep or Father Christmas will not come.
In the morning, has he been?
Yes, looking in my stocking it was not a dream.
An orange, an apple, a tangerine tell me so.
But where are those golden chocolate coins?