Tag Archives: families

Ants or Aunts (a nod to Mr Dahl)

I don’t know what to call this one. Suggestions gratefully received.

Colony (thanks Juliet)

Lying here in the thin London sun,

high on the scent of lime tree blossom,

I think of theĀ smellĀ of family gatherings,

of potted meat and alcohol and pastry and

flowers from the garden if it’s summer,

the high opiate smell of lilies.

The warm bovine scent of the kitchen curls through the house,

fingers its way under wallpaper into plaster,

through clothes into skin,

its hard back layer of rendered meat

made sweet with nutmeg.

A solid-girdled cohort of grandmothers and great aunts

moves in formation between pantry and kitchen and dining room.


But they were knowing women.

Women who knew how to knead dough to the softness of powdered cheeks,

how to embroider French knots and knit socks.

How to build a fire in a grate and tend

those fragile things which tumbled through generations, picking up speed.

How to let go of their youth.

I watched a procession of ants once.

A black lacquer line fetching the honeyed remains of

a dropped baklava.

A long way from here, in Greece, in a stench of diesel and road dust,

waiting in heat for a boat.



Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry