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Barley and Random Bits June 6, 2010

Posted by astridjohnson in Books, Love, Poetry.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rich booty during a Manchester second hand book shop trawl. Old loves, like Isaac Bashevis Singer, Colette and Morgenstern and two little gems from the Thinker's Library, published in the 40's.

Ages ago now, a weekend with music and writing, my first wedding anniversary, not surprisingly forgotten by my husband but celebrated with a second hand book shop trawl and more recently a trip to witness my first proper wedding.

Mark’s youngest brother and his partner did the deed with the help of the CoE. Very entertainingly, the vicar and organist were late, I mean the Oh-I-forgot-it-was-at-one-o’clock kind of late and after having been fetched away from his lunch, mentioned for some peculiar reason Post-it® notes in his sermon. He went on to super glue and thus created the most subtle metaphor for enduring love I have ever heard. But the bride was beautiful in a proper white dress and the bridesmaids super sweet, escpecially my step daughter and her two cute cousins. I did cry.

During those days there were talks with Tony, my from Alzheimer’s disease suffering father in law, where I got glimpses of the person he used to be and maybe also the person he was allowed to be… more on this in another post.

And I am still not clear about what I really want to do, professionally I mean – to continue with artwork and design or new adventures… I am jumping over some planned online musings to briefly post this poem I read and liked. It is from Jackie Kay, a gutsy lady who I had the pleasure of meeting today at her book launch for ‘Red Dust Road’.

I stuck the following in my budding collection of Poems I ♥‘. I tasted the barley in my mouth when she was wondering about the name of the small soft bits:


Jackie Kay

Grandpa’s Soup

No one makes soup like my Grandpa’s
with its diced carrots the perfect size
and its diced potatoes the perfect size
and its wee soft bits –
what are their names?
and its big bit of hough,
which rhymes with loch, floating
like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea.

I say, Grandpa, Grandpa, your soup is the best
soup in the whole world.
And Gradpa says, Och,
which rhymes with hough and loch,
Och, Don’t be daft,
because he’s shy about his soup, my Grandpa.
He knows I will grow up and pine for it.
I will fall ill and desperately need it.
I will long for it my whole life after he is gone.
Every soup will become sad and wrong after he is gone.
He knows when I’m older I will avoid soup altogether.
Oh Grandpa, Grandpa, why is your soup so glourious? I say
tucking into my fourth bowl in a day.

Barley! That’s the name of the wee soft bits. Barley.


Pretty bridesmaid Izzy at the wedding.

Mark and his father Tony.


1. Uli - June 6, 2010

That IS a sweet poem, Astrid. And big congrats on your first wedding anniversary! These milestones never meant much to me, but now they do, now, that there is a commitment, time means a lot. Anything you want to share about your insights on marriage, love, sex – I’d love to have it on my blog! Much love, Uli

astridjohnson - June 6, 2010

Yes. Good point. Marriage is definitely a long term view and I was aware of that for our first anniversary. I gave Mark a cards which celebrates the Diamond wedding anniversary, crossed out the 60, replaced it with a one, thanking him for a very full year. Hmm, and let me think about writing something…

2. slpmartin - June 7, 2010

Such a lovely poem to post…thanks for sharing it.

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