Wednesday, September 26, 2012


One of those days when it did not seem possible to move from a lying-down position for a couple of hours after waking, and the view through wooden slats much the same as it was a couple of posts back.  Just to keep you fully in the picture.  After this, the only possible thing to do was to make vegetable soup.  In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that When In Doubt Make Soup is probably good for almost any situation - as long as you are fit enough and able to remain in an upright, preferably standing, position for as long as it takes to make it which, as you can see, I was.  

There is some small fame attached to the pot, which dates back to the years of my first marriage and about which I once wrote a poem.

Steel Pot

This was my first wedding gift,
a steel pot with black plastic handle,
nothing showy, nothing to show
but empty space and a dull shine.

We made Russian toffee which
blackened and burned, I battered it with knives
and wire wool, I made my mark,
three days I left it in the rain,

It was gentle with eggs,
imaginative with lentils, kind to milk,
rice it loved best, it kept a little back,
a nutty crust we peeled and ate like bread,
the grains were patterned on its metal skin.

Steel is hard and true, people
come and go, my young husband
went north with a broken heart,
three days I waited, but
you can’t scratch marks from hearts
once you have burned them.

I walked into the wilderness,
a knife in my pocket and a wooden spoon.
The steel pot was my hearth,
I sang into its empty space

like my grandmother’s mother
who could (as they say) make soup
by singing into a pot,
and just as well.

I lean and look inside and still
it gives my reflection back to me.


Cusp said...

Great poem :)

'Steel is hard and true, people come and go, my young husband went north with a broken heart, three days I waited, but you can’t scratch marks from hearts once you have burned them..'


Anna MR said...

I loved this poem before, when you first showed it to me (I believe it's made an appearance at a Pissed Poets in the Park gathering, a few years ago, you know! But I were pissed, like, so cannot be entirely sure), and I love it still. So very, very good, Signskins.

Funny thing is – I have been meant to make soup for days now. Yes, I do mean "meant to make", for I haven't been meaning to make some, you understand, as I have, for some untold reason, a resistance against cooking, at the moment, but simultaneously, I have two gigantic marrows and a smaller pumpkin, in the kitchen, going sorrier for themselves by the moment, as we speak, oblivious to their plight (or at least seemingly oblivious, for all intents and purposes, and certainly from their viewpoint, right). And the said marrows and pumpkin were grown by yours truly, as well.

So I think I shall go and make some soup now. This soup is Peculiar-But-Nice, okay: in the pot go marrow (or courgette, or pumpkin, as I've discovered, or a mixture of these), garlic (garlic goes into everything, except for porridge and cake), onion, sour apples (Granny Smith over here, but I think Cox's Cookers would do well, too, available as they are over there), spice it up with with cumin and/or coriander, cook in oil until lovely and mushy, add stock, blend smooth, pour in a dash of sour cream or something (optional).

Peculiar. But lovely.

Different lovely to your soup. But lovely, in its peculiarity.

I have ruined the pot I inherited from my gran; but that's another, stupider story, and I might not tell it, at least not in public. It casts a funny light on me.


Reading the Signs said...

Thank you Cusp :)

Anna, I think I do remember you bringing that one to the PPP gathering (I wasn't pissed, you see).

That soup is interesting. Sour apples? If you say so. And with marrow/courgette, autumnal. I'll try it.

Look, re the ruined pot story, can we just establish that the whole blogging thing, esp the way we do it, is going to cast a funny light on us, pure and simple. So you may as well publish and be damned - is what I think anyway.

Anna MR said...

Hear hear. You are, as usual, correct and right, and therefore, I believe the ruined pot is going to come out at some point, if things continue to go the way we do them. But believe me, the story is, ahem. 'Snuff said.


Anna MR said...

…although naturally, 'snot enuff today, unless we listen to a bit of Paul.

Have a happy, happy day, Signs. Wish I were there to pop you some champers. Multi multi many mwahs