Jelly Babies

We braved the wasps and nettles,

feet fearing the moist scrabble of tiny frogs

and came home


with bags of dripping berries.

Elicited nods from sweet old ladies

and questions of recipes.

Oh I scored points for making jam not pies.

To see my babies lined up

neatly labelled

little bonnets


To see the sun slant through the ruby

and feel that female pride

of storing bounty up for winter,

anticipating spooning scented jelly

on toast on steaming cold mornings

before school

negates the quarrelling,

the carping,

the thorns in fingers

and dresses ruined with purple.

I am,

in some small fragrant way

that kind of mother.

blackberriesburnt fingersdomesticityjamkidsruined pans

◄ Victoriana

Self Indulgence. ►


Profile image

Ann Foxglove

Fri 3rd Sep 2010 10:11

I love this Rachel - it has the wonderful feeling of late summer about it. I love the crisp whit bonnets image. Blackberries all down the lanes here. XX

Profile image

Dave Carr

Tue 31st Aug 2010 21:54

Great images in this. It brings back some strong memories for me. Blackberry picking as a child and my wife covering the kitchen in damson jam.
Congratulations by the way on your success at the Tudor House, particularly as the competition was so good.

Profile image


Fri 20th Aug 2010 19:43

Tee hee - I like this one a lot. Underlining it is the knowledge that for a big chunk of the time you are probably not 'that kind of mother'... Doing something good like baking a cake or making jam massages the guilt away n'est-ce pas? One I can identify with...and beautifully expressed as ever. x

Profile image

Lynn Dye

Fri 20th Aug 2010 15:50

Love this poem, Rachel. Just been making greengage jam from my garden, but have to admit eyeing up the berries in local fields while dog walking! Good one x

Profile image

Cynthia Buell Thomas

Fri 20th Aug 2010 14:37

Superb poem. I preferred 'crisp' linked to 'little bonnets' but isolating it does make the word spread over many ideas. Your images are insightful and delightful, your language warm and glowing.

Very funny title 'take-off'.

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Fri 20th Aug 2010 13:18

This is lovely and juicy and seasonal, Rachel. My favourite lines are "the sun slant through the ruby", "storing bounty up for winter," and "spooning scented jelly." The words ruby and bounty are terrific. Suggested tiny tweaks ... I just wonder if you might consider another word or phrase for "negates"? Sweetens? You could also do away with the definite articles around "carping" and "thorns in fingers," if you wanted to, I reckon. PS The blackberries at the end of our garden are the biggest I've ever seen this year!

Patricia and Stefan Wilde

Fri 20th Aug 2010 10:35

Good morning Rach-what a wonderfully mumsy poet you are-loved this as much as everyone of your poems-keep it up,who knows,one day you might get on Radio Lancs! up the Lancashire Lassies! (no,not that kind of up!)lorra love-Wildey-xx

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message