Hygge Feature #31 Ritual

There is comfort in a special way of doing things, even, or perhaps especially, a quotidian task like making tea. Both of these poems are about relationships with female family members and passing things on, whether objects or wisdom or memories.

 

Ritual

No silver spoon, Grandma Connelly dispenses
with a practised eye; upends a quarter pound of loose leaf,
stokes the teapot’s fire-cracked belly, silences the kettle,
scalds the dried black heap, then stirs.

Her tincture eddies, adds a further burnt sienna lining
to the elephantine Betty.  Left to mash in a hand-knit cosy,
brown spout raised, this worker signs our Sunday afternoon
in paisley swirls of aromatic steam

then genuflects to each in turn as Grandma pours
her benediction on the mismatched china. I serve
the bottled milk and sugar cubes, take up the offertory
in tea cards – my Brooke Bonds.

Super Strength, this stand-your-spoon-up-in-it brew
has muscles; vulgari-tea, my mother calls it.  Still, we sip
its tannin, bitter through the Tate & Lyle scree.
I swallow my displeasure at the unstrained leaves.

Tea cups drained, returned to their saucers, Grandma swoops,
swills the dregs, reserves the residue, peers
into our far futures.  As she ruminates
I wonder when she’ll teach me housewives’ runes.

Jayne Stanton

Previously published in pamphlet, Beyond the Tune (Soundswrite Press 2014)

 

TRACES OF TIME

The watch was old
it had counted the lives of three women

had seemed their cycles
of joy and sadness.

On my grandmother’s Edwardian ruffles
it timed tiny stitches

as she crafted her boy’s suits
her girl’s intricate dresses’s.

sitting by her husband by the open fire.

My mother, her orphaned daughter
wore it pinned to her suit

for a wartime wedding
in a strange country,

when hymns were conducted
by spiraling arcs of Spitfires,

given to me
I tied it to my wedding dress

the face turned  revealing a disk
of silver, tiny chiseled flowers,

links of gold string so small
only a caught hair reveals them.

Now it lies with its chain curled
like two bodies folded together

in my daughter’s white bag
that I hold for her

as she walks toward
the man who waits at the altar.

Carolyn O’Connell

First published in Timelines (Indigo Dreams )
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Photo by Angela Topping
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3 Comments

Filed under Hygge

3 responses to “Hygge Feature #31 Ritual

  1. Reblogged this on Carolyn O' Connell and commented:
    Thanks to Angela Topping

  2. Beautiful – reading these have made me think of my grandmother.

    marion

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