Archives for posts with tag: fruit
Image courtesy of http://vintagefeedsacks.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/free-vintage-clip-art-vintage_27.html

Image courtesy of vintagefeedsacks.blogspot.co.uk

In the poem “Summermelon” two characters – the super-hero of pre-used words and Watermelon Boy – spit pips.

“Summermelon” was another poem from last year that fitted into the set Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys. You can preview the book here.

T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill
Books by BeadedQuill

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A Blow-fly (Calliphora, probably Calliphora vomitória). Photo by Jens Buurgaard Nielsen via Wikimedia Commons.

Soft to the thumb,
the pear I sliced
was gone.
It was rotten inside.

In a wither of ruffles
the rose-heads have browned
dry in the heat.
They sodden after it’s stormed.

Even the blowflies ferocious
have stopped their wings,
landed their green torpedoes
for the last time.

Something from lunch
churns in my stomach –

the rice, three days old?
the dhal, two days defrosted?
the sliver of cheese, too sweaty?
the coffee, a cup too many?

Now I, too, struggle 
to hold down this summer.

25/7/2014


At the moment in London, it is exceedingly warm during the day. Not that it doesn’t get hotter in other places, but here nothing is equipped for the heat. Flowers wilt, flies buzz themselves out, food perspires and no sooner have you laid it in the bowl, the fruit ripens. Even the broadband at the house has conked out.

So I shall have to venture to the library to post this poem and a few scheduled archive items. It was my plan to do so early, when the day was still cool from the night rains and the school holiday crowds hadn’t descended. But I went dancing last night… I too am not quite sure what to do with myself. This is not so much because of the heat. I am a born-and-bred Cape Town girl, after all. (In truth though, I – and my Medea hair – do struggle with the humidity.) My muse seems to be awol once again.

Perhaps my muse has also surrendered to this overdose of summer.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Can you believe two years have passed since the London Olympics? I was fortunate enough to attend an evening of paralympic events. It feels as though it was only last year that I was sitting in the massive stadium, with an enormous lion emblazoned across my t-shirt and yelling encouragement at the athletes. Clearly, it wasn’t. That moment was in 2012.

This time last year I posted a loose Pindaric ode to a golden mango.

In the spirit of archives – looking at the back catalogue in the present, possibly to inform the future – I encourage you to read this post about progress. Joanna Penn recommends measuring achievement across the span of four years by asking oneself, where was I during the last olympics? Equally, you can plot your goals by projecting, where would I like to be by the next games?

Where will you be in 2016?

In the meantime, I’m still waiting for this summer’s golden mangoes to appear on the local grocers’ tiers.

Find me on Twitter. I’m @BeadedQuill.

Image courtesy of Norfolk-based artist, Nicola Slattery. View her enchanting work at www.nicolaslattery.com

“Taken Care Of” courtesy of Norfolk-based artist, Nicola Slattery. View her enchanting work at www.nicolaslattery.com

The 2×52 project developed in April 2013 when I committed to posting two poems a week for a year. I completed my self-made creative challenge this April when I revealed the 104th poem. Next month (June 2014), all the poems will be available in a book at my Blurb bookstore. In the meantime, here are the 104=2×52 poems listed in all their glory! And for your convenience, so that you can click on the titles that pique your interest. Enjoy!

  1. On a rock amongst rocks
  2. Things of the Heart, Told in Quiet #1
  3. £299 from Strand
  4. A Thousand Scientific Facts about the Sea
  5. Nice Words #1
  6. Benefactor of the Blind
  7. On the Way to Westminster
  8. Solutrean Hypothesis
  9. I don’t work for you (or Modern Frustrations)
  10. red herring
  11. Tarantella (two versions)
  12. Conversation
  13. Pakistan’s Gold
  14. 29oC
  15. An arrangement of strangers
  16. Recycled
  17. Packed Lunches
  18. Tightly Sealed
  19. Another Summer’s Day
  20. Look At
  21. Hairpin (a short poem)
  22. A definition, notably for the cloud-dwelling artists
  23. Instructions
  24. Scherzo: Allegro before the Finale
  25. Impatience
  26. Screens
  27. Leo’s Entries
  28. From a Stone
  29. Autumn’s ripened harvest store
  30. The Character Building
  31. An autumn evening in
  32. Preceding seafaring that was not to transpire
  33. The Home Commute
  34. On the declaration of the first day of the Year of Our Light
  35. What we were all thinking
  36. Emulation
  37. Genuine
  38. Stuck
  39. An address from a lectern
  40. Her magical box
  41. Sun Doves
  42. At the right age
  43. Just Punishment
  44. Every morning, because it’s wonderful
  45. Is it worth it?
  46. A Bequest of Wonder
  47. The Benefits of 320 Kicks
  48. I do. Do you?
  49. Five Consequences of Repeated Actions
  50. To the Valleys
  51. supreme ultimate
  52. Operations Meeting, El Dorado
  53. Without realising it, the postman leaves a poem
  54. Another drop in this week before Christmas
  55. A quiet night preludes
  56. Let them eat
  57. I learnt
  58. A New Room
  59. Philip’s Log: Entries about my moonlit sylph
  60. Pairings
  61. Conscripted
  62. Bursting Art
  63. Afloat
  64. Would you ever live in Heather Green?
  65. London’s Molten Hour
  66. Two poems about grey
  67. My friend Ellen
  68. Nice words of the moment (from autumn)
  69. Today
  70. Outpourings
  71. She’d read it in books
  72. Tube sketch (one of a few)
  73. St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden
  74. Near Liverpool Street, under scaffolding
  75. On the occasion of a dinner party in Kennington
  76. Tunnel Days
  77. London. Is it worth it?
  78. At the moment: £2
  79. the currency of sugar
  80. High-end Liquids
  81. Glomerulonephritis
  82. Dying is probably easier than this
  83. The Age Show
  84. Nice words #2
  85. How do you make a dream come true?
  86. Do engineers dream?
  87. Appropriate Recompense
  88. It’s complicated
  89. Every Sign of the Zodiac
  90. Saying it plainly
  91. The Brothers Three
  92. This morning’s request
  93. Recipe
  94. Kindly exit
  95. In the ocean one night
  96. Degas’s Business Card
  97. A small heart panics
  98. Interior holdings
  99. Reviewing the pursuit
  100. Absorbed
  101. Nearing the End
  102. Different Rides
  103. Spring Wants
  104. Escucha
Using washed hands
soft in the palm, 
scoop 
voluptuous, ivory nibs
since stripped of their brown seedcoat.
Blitz briefly
those gently ridged amygdalae
thrown by the precious palmful.
Blitz briefly those sweet, curved kernels.
Using floured hands 
sit finished dumplings on top.

Ah, almonds: sweetmeat
	of the fruit.


I love gathering words, sentences, phrases, formulations and expressions that take my fancy. Two chance readings contributed to this poem – recipe instructions and a definition of almonds as “the sweetmeat of the fruit”.

As I worked on this poem, I remembered that I had written about previously about almonds. The preparation of this fruit features in an earlier poem, “Van Riebeeck’s Hedge” (2008). This poem considers the mythical ‘hedge’ of wild almonds that acted as a boundary for the early Colony at the Cape. An entry in Governor Jan van Riebeeck’s diary dates the construction of the fortification to 1660. (“Van Riebeeck’s Hedge” is one of the selected poems in my first book, Shining in Brightness.) The wild almonds were bitter (apparently an indicator of the cyanide content of the fruit) and had to be “soak’d then peel’d before consum’d”. The poem sets the Dutch colonial settlers, planters of the hedge who dine off ‘fine’ plates, in contrast with the unnamed resident local Khoikhoi population at the Cape who eat these bitter fruits that have to be prepared.

Sweet almonds, either blanched or with their skins, are one of my favourite foods. In times when I was a more flush, they were a welcome snack. Now they are much more precious – sweet, ivory-coloured opals. I like to imagine this is a value more akin to that accorded to them in societies where almonds were more difficult to obtain. Almonds are not opal-shaped. More correctly, they are amygdala; their form rests somewhere between a triangle and an ellipse. It is also from amygdala that the name almond is derived.

(Note the recurrence of palm, which in the poem refers to the cupped, underside of the hand, but of course triggers the homophonic link to palm tree, and the imaginative landscape of such association.)

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Preview my two published books, available as print-on-demand editions:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

Follow the cherry-stem

narrow and fine.

It bends at the thrill

of being anonymous.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill

Facebook: BeadedQuill

The books: Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and Shining in Brightness

Your greatest treasures

in actions and thoughts

are how much, how gently

and how gracefully

you let silent persimmons

fall into your lap.

I’ve written about fruit again. (During the summer I wrote “Summermelon” and “Pakistan’s Gold” – An Ode to a Golden Mango.) I’ve once again also turned to life instructions and direction. When I sat down to write the poem for this blog post, I didn’t deliberately decide on these themes. Initially I was writing about a photocopier technician, then a wedding that didn’t happen and finally I was grappling with a poem about ordinary people and chocolate cake. All these poems remain works in progress. They may yet make it onto the blog.

Preview Shining in Brightness my first book of poems here. Two essays on my writing process are also included. 

My book’s cover features the work of Norfolk-based artist Nicola Slattery. Nicola has generously provided the cover for my forthcoming volume, “Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys”. Watch this space for a sneak preview of the first print! (Sign up via the “Follow” option on the tab in the far right corner of the screen.)

I tweet as @BeadedQuill. Please follow me.

When it is from deep inside

and through my eyes,

that crinkled nose –

my truest smile.

For some time I was a regular attendee of a writing group. I often presented very short poems (some of which were to feature in ‘Shining in Brightness‘, my first volume and others which are earmarked for the forthcoming ‘Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys’.) It helped that I could print out eight copies of a poem on one A4 page. This meant I saved on printing. The resulting items to be read out were palm-sized scraps of paper. In honour of their size and effect, one of my fellow attendees declared my signature pieces “sushi poems.”

I love the idea that these short verses might pack a punch, prove tasty and nutritious. The poem above is a fresh addition to the ever growing bundle.

Here are some more of my sushi poems available on the Beaded Quill blog:

String

Pavement Writer

Ode to a Golden Mango

Things of the Heart Told in Quiet #1

A Poem about Scales (red herring)

Conversation

At Noon

The hummingbird stands for love

926 Breathless Accomplishments

The Poet

Clementi Brings in 2013

If you enjoyed the above read ‘Pavement Walker’, the first poem in my volume ‘Shining in Brightness, available for purchase and preview at blurb.co.uk

In pack-a-punch style, I love the challenge of a good tweet. Follow me on Twitter. I tweet as @BeadedQuill

Summer_Vintage_Woman_by_CherishedMemories

This image, ‘Summer Vintage Woman,’ is courtesy of CherishedMemories.

A few recent poems have orbited around summer. 29°C captures some moments from the July heatwave. Another Summer’s Day explores more delights of the warmer season. Summer food and outdoor eating, which we enjoy at such times with childlike relish, are enacted by the child characters who feature in Packed Lunches and Summermelon. Tightly Sealed and Look At draw on observations of ordinary days as they continue to unfold during a suburban summer. Leftovers accumulate in the ‘fridgeResidents must still go to work and pick up groceries on the High Street.

An Arrangement of Strangers, a poem about some childhood fears, proved the wildcard.

I consider Recycled the most beautifully put together of them all.

Image courtesy of http://vintagefeedsacks.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/free-vintage-clip-art-vintage_27.html

Image courtesy of vintagefeedsacks.blogspot.co.uk

In which the superhero of pre-used words makes a re-appearance

The superhero of pre-used words 
met watermelon boy.
It was summer.
They had pips to spit
But also fruit to eat and

The superhero of pre-used words 
and watermelon boy
arrived at the driveway, 3 quite sharp.
Between them half a shell of watery sweet
	summer joy
“You first!"	

The superhero of pre-used words 
has met with Watermelon Boy.
They spit pips
at the wall
A noun; a verb;
	too many adjectives

The adverbs sweetly steep the fruit.
They ingest those.
It’s how it’s done,
not what, that counts.

The superhero of pre-used words 
and melon boy
spit pips –

the champion is melon boy
      his best is 2m .03
(quite impressive!)

On a sunny Sunday
the watermelon pips
hit
leftover rinds – green happy smiles

Follow me on Twitter. I tweet as @BeadedQuill.

My first volume of poetry, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, explores the quiet pleasures and experiences of suburban life and travel. Preview it at blurb.co.uk