Gâche melée

 

Apple peel spirals, the big mixing bowl
sailor-striped and chipped as old teeth:
a tickle of cinnamon, scratch of nutmeg.

Great waves of sugar, the flour and suet
scooped and folded, stroked or beaten.
A battered square tin: perhaps the rust

improves the flavour. Heave the gloop in,
feel its suck and pull, the letting go
clinging as embraces on a quayside.

Food for cowherds, trawlermen. You
anchored the ordinary, reeled us from winter
to a fading light swollen with scents of apples.

 

This poem won first prize in the Guernsey International Poetry Competition, 2016 and will appear on one of Guernsey’s buses.

In praise of Wensleydale

It’s a sweetness that can only rise from limestone

it’s the sharpness of a certain kind of grass

it’s a flying spark from horseshoe or from grindstone

the imprint of a tractor’s tyres at dusk

 

It’s a snorting Friesian’s udder at the milking

the reversing of a tanker in a yard

it’s water stained by soil and shot like satin

the first frost glinting in the hazel wood

 

It’s the press and squeeze and strain of a mutation

it’s the hooting of an owl along your spine

it’s the block, the wire, the moment of incision

the presence and the constancy of rain

 

It’s the parting of the liquid from the solid

the unstable balance of a dry stone wall

the cavorting of a beck in April sunlight

it is the final crumbling of it all

 

This poem was commended in the YorkMix poetry competition, 2015, and was also selected for The Very Best of 52

Confessions of a food thief

The day I stole your tastebuds was the best.
After that, I could do anything. I slipped
horsemeat into burgers, flung the odd rat
into your ragu. Every little helps.

Sauce is everything. Splash a little spice,
inject the perfect compound, and you think
all your Christmases have come at once.
I sold you a certain shade of red,

uniformity of portions. Remember the tomatoes
your dad grew, that exploded in your mouth
like liquid rubies? I swapped them for
the taste of cardboard. You never noticed.

 

This poem was also published on Clear Poetry, March 2015.