Three Poems by Alison Jones

Poetry
collage India

A Collage by India Hibbs, 2019

 

 

Incidents

 

We walk past that house every day.

The ‘To Let’ sign, a frequent warning bell –

people ghost on through and never stay.

 

Nothing is the same, everything will decay.

Cloud castles rise and fall with twisting time,

as we walk past that house every day.

 

Taught tape shouts more than words convey,

lines stretched tight to keep our prying eyes out.

People ghost on through and never stay.

 

5am murder scene, all hope run astray,

both bodies blue lighted all too swiftly away.

Still, we walk past that house every day.

 

Who knew what circumstances were at play,

the actions frightened neighbours could not delay.

People ghost on through and never stay.

 

 

Now Ruz (Persian New Year)

 

The air is sharp with the hyacinth’s blue insistence-

cloth heavy with treasures that hold new year’s promises –

coded, familiar, all seven must be there to make it sweet.

 

Sumac, apple, garlic, greens, a book of poetry.

The bauble of an orange, keeping sunlight bound,

within its body’s jewels. Buds, coins, painted eggs.

 

The table bends her legs and braces her back,

burdened with goodness. Jewelled rice towered high,

the golden secret revealed, tahdig a crisp vow of crust,

here is everything new, and  as old as starlight.

 

We light candles before the mirror and reflect how we always

begin again –  like grains placed the night before,

elongating in a watery pan, gently opening, reaching for the sky.

Reminding us of journeys from field to table, what it means to be home.

 

The Architecture of a Salad

 

She stands in a borrowed kitchen, in borrowed light,

forty years ago, making green foundations.

I stand in a borrowed kitchen, in borrowed light,

forty years later, less concerned with geometry  than speed.

 

She tears iceberg lettuce, peels cucumber in hexagonal pieces.

She shapes radishes with deft artist’s fingers, paring knife shines confidence.

I dissect feta, messily. Fish olives from their briny sea. Quarter tomatoes.

I leave the cucumber safe in its skin, to me it tastes better with green edges.

 

Her salad is perfect symmetry, aligned north of south,

a knot work summer wonder.  It is a thing of beauty, to eat is seems offensive.

My salad is more about pace than presentation, I have never been as stylish

as a daughter  could be, according to all the books that have been written.

 

So we stand, forty years apart, in borrowed kitchens, in borrowed light,

considering the construction of leaves and buds that capture sunlight.

Shape the season’s sustenance on borrowed plates, contemplate meals.

Now, I stand in the kitchen, and she waits at the table, and I ponder how

 

I could never make anything as beautiful as her creations,

yet, when the time comes, her plate is always clean.

 

Sometimes I think I am becoming my mother,

a midlife woman with a feeling for old recipes and charity shop treasures.

I keep within me her handed down shrewdness

that a good salad brings us together, and wisdom is held in deep dark loam.

 

 

About the Author:

Alison Jones is a teacher, and writer with work published in a variety of places, from Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry and The Interpreter’s House, to The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. She has a particular interest in the role of nature in literature and is a champion of contemporary poetry in the secondary school classroom. Her pamphlet, ‘Heartwood’ was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018, with a second pamphlet. ‘Omega’, and a full collection forthcoming in 2020.

Alison Jones – Indigo Dreams