Tag Archives: Abigail Wyatt

Hygge Feature #9 of Food and Nurturing

Two things which embody Hygge for me are: food lovingly made to share, and mothers. One does not need to have given birth to be a mother. Some people are naturally nurturing, and it is people like that I am thinking of. People who make your favourite food because you are coming to see them, and who share freely.

My Mother’s Chemistry

experiments in the oven,
a laboratory of smells,
of textures, of flavours.

cakes with earthquake crusts,
oozing moist chocolate,
scenting the 4.30 kitchen

just as we came home,
a chaos of satchels, duffle bags
bumping, stilled by aromas.

Apple pies with pastry roses,
yellow silken custard pooled
in the folds of the petals.

And Christmas, oh Christmas
in her kitchen, a harmony of spices,
of hot rum in the cake,

of brandy in the mince pies,
the once a year chicken
with oozing, pimpled skin,

my mothers’ maths was division,
five cuts, large for Dad, small for her,
three perfect angles for us.

I won’t make bread – she said,
suspicious of yeast movements
– no telling where it will end.

Vivien Jones

Poem with a Satsuma in it

There is no sunset can rival
the particular shade of its skin

no sunrise the pimpled texture
no noon-glow the zing.

There can never be too many
satsumas in poems,

each segment a stanza,
every metaphor a pip.

I open a book of them
and my mouth waters

even before I’ve tasted
the opening line.

My grand-daughter
can’t say the word,

just points
more, more, more

 Carole Bromley
(first published in The Stonegate Devil Smith/Doorstop)



My mother fed my father
home-grown berries lifted
from their beds of soft, pale straw.
She picked them, washed them,
packed them in a tub, brought them
from his garden where they grew.
Visiting times, she chattered
and fussed as she dipped them
one by one in unbleached sugar.
It was early in June,
the weather was warm.
The fruits of his last days
were passing sweet.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt


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Hygge Feature #6 Making


Photo by Gill Lambert

Hygge is all about home-made.What could be cosier?

Strands of blue, a coat she made when you
were a grainy photograph, palm-sized and puny.
Rows and rows of rainbow, from the blanket
that your little brother sat on, crawled on,
slept on; the orange matched his hair.
Three hundred stitches wide, a thousand lines,
the leftovers of clothes that fit in other peoples’ lives:
baby socks, football hats, her own soft shawl.
The browns and greys that kept it all together,
the wash-well, hard-wearing functional
she could knit with her eyes shut.

The delicate filigree in white
to wrap a bride, her shoulders sheltered
from the spring wind, there
without an invite. Twists of cable
worked with Aran from the sweaters
made for others. Mohair flitting in and out
of rows of Fair isle. Traditional
and trendy; different generations.

When you and she are of an age
to be at separate ends of life,
when your shadow passes hers
and her hand knots inside the warm ball
of your palm; you will press the edges
round her knees, your fingers finding bumps
where she sewed the ends in,
the tell-tale lumps from mended holes.
And though you’re each as different
as garter stitch or purl,
you’re made of the same ritual;
that sacred act of wrapping yarn.

Gill Lambert




Happy Hookers
It is late afternoon
and the sun slips in
to fondle our winter-pale skin.
We are pleased to see him
so like happy hookers
we make our eyes wide
and we smile.
O how we smile
as we bait our hooks,
laying out our shapes
and brightest colours.
Where there is such work
there is a mystery
attends it.
Then the sweetness
of creation
is ours.
Abigail Wyatt

Kitchen Kitsch

Grandma tying on a pinny for me.
Rough squeak of cotton strings, the pull
around my middle like a hug.
I’m dressed in 1950s kitsch.
a weird print not unlike a paper bag
to measure out the currants and the flour
the relatives look down benign for once
a lass dressed and employed in fruitful work
in patterns they’d remember
Grandma smooths the weave,
her cold hard fingers skating on the cloth.
Later I get four to take away.
I fetch a paper bag from the soft drawer,
the pattern on the paper
a weird print like a kitchen pinny
50s kitsch.


Rachel McGladdery

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In Memory of The Titanic

305873_titanic_jpgb6dda7e099d12da901287e26c19035f2The sinking of The Titanic on her maiden voyage in 1912 continues to fascinate people. The story unfolds like a Greek tragedy and has been the subject of many poems, both at the time and since. The ship sank 104 years ago and laws were changed afterwards, such as enough lifeboats for everyone. The worst casualties were among third class passengers setting off for a new life in America, many of them Irish. Cruelly, women and children were split from husbands and fathers by the old rule ‘women and children first’, even where there was room in the lifeboats. Abigail Wyatt writes about the widows of the Titanic. 

Over the next few days, I will be featuring some contemporary poems and prose pieces about it. Thanks are due to their authors for allowing me to publish their work.

Atlantic Widows

We come to it in our different ways – just as we,
ourselves, in our lives before, were distinct
in this and that:  the fine arch of an eyebrow,
the sloping of a shoulder, the tilt or thrust of a chin.
We wear our losses awkwardly, like unfamiliar clothing,
our real clothes being not what they should be:
it is not what we expected: to be thus attired,
to be dishevelled and hemmed by this dark.

After the grab and bustle, there is the slow pull of the oars;
we are marooned in the grip of this grim spectacle;
our ears are filled with a thunderous roar
and this great, proud ship breaks its spine.
Then its lights go down: there are no more cries;
the weight of silence presses down on us.
Once the sun shone warm and the band played on;
now we shiver and we cannot take it in.

It is the little losses that torment our thoughts,
as if  to think such trifles might preserve us:
a glittering frock with a silver fringe is torn past all repair;
a matron weeps for a pin lost to the deep;
a hollow-eyed bride mourns her trousseau;
but, even as we draw our tatters close,
our splendour is the wealth of the grave.

So, the frost stills our tongues as the hours limp by
and we dare not give much credence to tomorrow;
to think of it defeats our strength as if we too
might lose our grip and slip into the deep;
and, while some of us, a few, may survive  our grief
and, one day, think to love again and marry,
for most of us, no matter how long,
our drowned hearts will forever be in weeds.

Abigail Wyatt


Sea Change

 Full fathom five thy father lies,
of his bones are coral made;
those are pearls that were his eyes;

The Tempest


What the sea does and does so well
is to embrace and change
all things to its cool element.

From the Titanic a suitcase is lifted,
like a drowned dog, its body leaking;
folded, laundered shirts are stained.

A pile of crumbling junk, that ship;
crunching bacteria fasten
nibbling mouths on its very steel;

the railings’ fur of barnacles
outlives the stoles of women.
The champagne may still be drinkable.

On the ocean floor in pliés
pairs of boots point outward toes.
Rusticles hang like crystallised tears.

Shoals of fish play small chase
in and out the rusty portholes.
Where is Hartley’s violin?

Angela Topping (from The Way We Came 2007)


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