This poem came second in the Free Verse category at the Northampton Literature Group Poetry Competition 2009.

Tea at Grannie's

Summer; and the cold water,
in the lemon-yellow milk bucket,
is unequal to its task
resulting in the need
to skim creamy archipelagos
from the cups of tea.
Jelly is forsaken
in favour of canned fruit
and the butter is slick
as you spread it on the loaf,
hugged firmly to your nylon bosom,
then slice with the bread knife,
sabre-curved from sharpening,
always towards you. 

Picture credit Malcolm Chisholm

We lay the table, burrowing
into the sideboard for jams;
midnight blue damson,
golden apple jelly and the spicy,
slubbed silk of rhubarb and ginger.
Back and forth to the kitchen with
plates and dishes and cutlery.
A bowl of lettuce, and celery hearts
in a Woolworth's glass; Dairylea triangles
and crimson-wrapped Cracker Barrel,
from back of the larder, under the stairs,
and ham from the butchers over the road.
Jam tarts with stalks in like tropical toadstools
and sliced slab sponge, seductive with lemon zest
beneath its brittle crust of glacé icing.
We know we've really grown up
when at last you entrust us
with carrying the brimful jug of Carnation.

Finally we sit down to feast,
bare legs slowly adhering to our chairs;
burnt umber chenille softly brushing our knees
beneath a brittle crust of starched white linen.

© Samantha Newbury 2009