Tag Archives: childhood

Sick of Soap

My hands are sick of soap.

They look so crissed, wrinkled apples, cracked as a ledge in sandstone cliff, as water erodes when I rinse.

Along the journey, they hold fast, endure sun, gales, seasons and tides,

the pen and hoe, satin and grind;

but every dip in hot water stings as if they delved into nettles, so hurt feels the epidermis, the balm won’t work…

I remember harshness of tools, bucket handles from a past world – slashing juncus or eau de javelle ;

water of death, water of life, survival comes at a high price.

My hands are sick of soap.

They never knew daily gutting from herring days, slyness of blades, the salt furnace from a barrel, but

glass paper, papier de verre – as

yellow liquid daily foamed to wash in haste between lessons. Day after day, weeks, months and terms, to beat what sticks invisible.

Those hands are sick of soap.

Sick of cover-ups, stings and lies… They bleed and peel when they don’t crack; they remind me of Lure Mountain or

Mont Ventoux,

wind-blasted, barren to blunt ice, torrents of fears or acid rain, as dead skin crumbles against nails.

Sick of soap hands cry for respite,

freedom from iron and shackles, that terrible terrorist desease that runs around like wildfire…

They need to heal to work longer.

© NH 2020.

Mont Ventoux

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Pot-au-feu

Pot-au-feu is a traditional French dish my grand mother cooked through the crucial seasons of my early childhood.

Pot-au-feu

Stock memories inside a pot

wide, deep enough to

let the marrow from

the bone melt and

flavour what

you

picked up from

the garden,

what you harvested through

the years –

sprinkle with salt, pepper and

thyme,

tie-in fresh parsley and

bay leaves,

nail them with

cloves,

let

all simmer for a lifetime.

Scoop and savour hot

with

mustard.

NH 2019

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