Twenty-one years ago, on the shortest day of the year,
our house arrived on a lorry from somewhere in Sweden. By that evening there
was a roof on and lights in all the windows. We had moved from Dublin and while
we were planning the house I lived with the children in a tiny mobile on my
sister and her husband’s land in Moycullen, Co Galway.
My beloved commuted from the big smoke to our
little home at the weekend. Our biggest treat was to go to Drimcong to feast on
the beautiful food cooked by Gerry Galvin, a fantastic chef and a fine writer
to boot. One of his cookbooks had a recipe for Haw Chutney, which took so long
to make that it put me in mind of the similar effort involved in the crafting
of a poem.
The poem was recently published in Crannóg #40 which
is a most handsome journal. I was thrilled to see that Eamonn Lynskey has just
given it a very positive review on his blog.
Many times when I read a
poem by Geraldine Mills I feel like throwing in the thesaurus as a poet myself
because she is so good. ‘Poem as Haw Chutney’
(p.26) is a marvellous creation:
you’ve plucked into the pot of possibility / with tart of vinegar, the wages of
salt / raisins dried down to size.’
I’m not saying one could
produce a poem using her recipe but the comparison of the skills of
preservative-making and poetry making is strangely apposite. The last stanza is
particularly applicable to both ‘disciplines’:
‘… and pour
into a clean jar of page/ before hiding it in the dark larder of promise, / to
mellow, settle, become its own name.’
Des Kenny did a wonderful reading of my poem 'Snail Pals' on the Keith Finnegan Show last Friday, 4 December at 11:00am. This poem is included in that exceptional book Once Upon a Place children's anthology recently published by Little Island, edited by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by P.J. Lynch. Thrilled to be part of it. A perfect gift for the children in all of us.
You can hear him read it about 57 minutes into the programme at: