The Hitching Stone
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Scrambled Eggs and other poems


Poems of Love, Loss, Childhood and Gardens

Scrambled Eggs
Come in late in the autumn afternoon,
from the garden as the sun starts to set;
time that our grandmothers would call teatime.
Change your clothes and light a fire in the hearth;
across fields and hedges light is fading,
shadows spread like old regrets at twilight.
From the crock in the kitchen take a loaf of bread and
make it brown, it really must be brown.
Slice and toast it both sides until crisp,
let the butter melt across it so every
pore and hole is filled by the yellow blanket.
Two large brown eggs, fresh from the farm that morning
beaten smooth now, thick as homemade custard;
aromatic, freshly ground, the pepper,
just enough to give it warmth and comfort.
In the iron saucepan from the cupboard -
the one we bought in France that summer -
melt a knob of butter like a walnut,
not too hot, but starting to spread and foam.
Slowly now the eggs are poured in the pan
while with the wooden spoon that's dark and smooth
whisk and beat them round and round the pot.
Watch and feel it thicken and coagulate
until just short of cooked you add a last
spoonful of cream and turning out the flame
beat it half a minute more and serve
on toast, at twilight, by the fire.
My scrambled eggs for one, now you are gone.
The Magic Garden
The walls of Troy were here;
just beyond the french windows of the house.
Achilles and I stormed that citadel a thousand times
on a summers evening after school.
In the cherry tree on the lawn
were the masts of a pirate ship
in a storm off the Spanish Main.
And here I broke all records for the Cresta run
in an empty cardboard box.
Through the raspberry canes and the runner beans
I have hunted tigers and escaped from cannibals
evading their poison darts by climbing the garage roof.
Though I have put away forever
the swords and rifles made of wood and cane
and no longer land upon the moon
in a sheet and a climbing frame;
I will keep just slightly hidden -
like a secret childhood friend -
the vision that could see all that
within the garden's square.


Harry's Lilies
A second from your life is frozen here.
The smiling child, unsteady by the gate,
his father's hands, a safety net behind.
The cold, the fog and damp would tear your lungs
before another summer came around,
now only your abandoned toys remain.
We stare across the years but cannot speak,
the older child confronts the younger man.
Your father's face does not say if he knew
how little time you had left in the sun;
I only know he bought you Chinese lilies
and planted them beside the garden gate.
They flower fragrant for a week then fade;
now eighty summers later come again.
Their scent was in your nostrils in this photo
and through that sense you reach to touch my hand.


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