Tag Archives: Carole Bromley

Hygge Feature #15: The Goodness of Fruit

Today’s photograph is of a painting by Gloria Jeffries, used with permission from the artist. It made me think about the goodness of fruit. It’s simple food, often used as a winter treat, and so has cosy connotations. 16252022_10158125653360274_7108546111645859513_o


There were never oranges
like the one you peeled for me
that first night, paring the rind,
removing with a surgeon’s skill
every trace of white.

Zest filled the air.
You watched me sink my teeth in,
laughed as I posted a segment
into your mouth. Afterwards
you lit one of your father’s cigarettes.

I closed my eyes and breathed in
smoke, the scent of oranges, you.

Carole Bromley


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)



For Jan Dean 

Five pointed star, my pentacle,
how I would lift your jewels
from their case, one by one
on the pin’s point, before
I found a better way.

Now I bite into your leather
with greedy teeth, devouring
your firmaments, your rubies.
Time’s a thief and so am I,
seizing everything I can.

Time enough for picking out
your treasures one by one
when days begin to bleed
one into another like washed
watercolour sunsets.

Even Persephone could not resist
your glowing fairy-lights.
I garner your seeds for my journey,
draw on clean parchment
my pentacle five pointed star.

Angela Topping

First published in Paper Patterns (Lapwing 2012)



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Hygge Feature #10: Tea

An important part of hygge is hot drinks. The Danes prefer coffee but tea is the UK favourite. It’s where we turn in times of trouble, visitors and happiness, for our comfort.


Where I was

It was one of
those days when it was good
to be indoors, when just

sipping black tea from a spotted
cup was enough.
The news was hushed.

He didn’t want to tell us;
once he’d said it
it would be real.

And afterwards, it snowed.
The whole window-frame
was filled with it. So soft,

each flake touched
the window, as if
it had never been.

Carole Bromley




As hot as I can stand it,
just like a builder would drink,
leaning at your counter top,
giving you a quote for your kitchen.
The colour of varnish.
Mahogany, it travels through my veins,
pockets in my stomach like a posset,
heats my extremities.
Warms the cockles.
It’s sweet, much too sweet –
but I find that I need the sugar,
crave the saccharine.
Warm and milky,
swirled and spooned –
my mouth is a cave,
flushed with a sea of it.

Jane Burn


Dad’s Tea

Gave up milk and sugar in the war, long before I was born,
came to prefer his dark bitter brew. Couldn’t abide it weak:
if he could see white china at the bottom, he’d send it back
to the pot for further steeping. In vain I tried to get the spoon
standing up for him. The last one poured was always his.

We knew how to drink tea in our house. Countless cups of it
punctuated the day, from the early morning bedside one
to his enquiry every evening at nine: would you like a cup of tea?
before mother went to bed and he clocked off tea-making.
Tea was the reaction to every crisis, arrival and departure.

One evening, I listened to Under Milk Wood on the radio
in my room, wrapped in a blanket. He brought me tea,
a bowl of milky porridge, glistening with brown sugar.
Tea was the last thing he drank before he died:
I had carried a cup to him, strong and hot, rattling on its saucer.

Tea was the way we loved each other, the way he treated me,
and gentled my mother, with scones just out of the oven,
new bread and blackberry jam, apple pie. Easier than words
which made him trip and stumble since his childhood stammer.
Our tea cosy was stained brown where it snugged the spout.

Angela Topping

from Hearth (Mother’s Milk Books 2015)



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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 #3 People who embody hygge

Sometimes hygge is in people too. Those people who make you feel cosy and loved by making simple treats for you. These people are often grandparents, or friends who have the knack of hygge. Today’s first poem is by Alison Lock, and she sent me this beautiful photo of her nana to go with the poem.

Last night I woke inside a dream

Last night I woke inside a dream.

I was staying at your house

where you made me tea

of steamed plaice

with all the bones taken out,

you gave me milk and honey

in a proper cup and saucer,

we podded peas together

and while they boiled

you told me a story,

my head on your shoulder

your arm around me

the scent of sugared almonds

on your skin.

Then you pressed your lips to my cheek

pulled a satin quilt around me.

I fell back to sleep on a bed

of the softest feathers.

Alison Lock


Carole Bromley is clearly a grandmother who can create hygge well, though of a much younger generation.

Desperate Measures

Only after they’ve been gone nine hours
do we begin to dance, me and Josephine
who, just this morning, was content
to rediscover the world of Croc, to sit
in her playpen solemnly turning pages.
Set free, she scampered after the cat
who was always just one paw ahead;
then pulled herself up on my leg,
let go and fell into its water-bowl.
Since lunch we’ve played the xylophone,
pressed the red nose of the plastic dog,
releasing the notes of Old MacDonald
into the sunlit room. Toast was of interest,
banana, puréed parsnip. We went out
to say hello to the lambs along Town Path,
stopped to watch a girl in red wellies
feeding the ducks. Sleep did not appeal.
Now it’s desperate measures, dancing
to Venus in Blue Jeans across the kitchen tiles.

Carole Bromley

(first published in A Guided Tour of the Ice House Smith/Doorstop)

Hygge is all about friends too. Those cosy friends who are happy with a simple supper, rather than a swanky dinner party. Friends who are all about sharing and fun. Here is one such poem.

An invitation

To what shall I invite you, sweetest friend?
To dine? Ah, I remember, long ago,
banquets at one another’s houses, when
we’d make a feast of anything at all.

Beneath the kitchen light-bulb’s goat-eyed glare
we sliced and stirred and tasted, side by side;
your wrists, escaping from unbuttoned cuffs,
were pale as pearl, and nearly broke my heart.

Well, this is not the love I wanted then,
bedazzled by your beauty and your youth.
Now patient time has taught my passion sense,
has schooled me to distinguish love from love.

Let’s drink, then, to the serene love of friends,
Which weathers pain and tears, and never ends.

Mandy Macdonald


first published in Rat’s Ass Review, ‘Love & Ensuing Madness’

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