Best before

Today’s poem springs from things seen and heard this morning.

Best before
Rhubarb and mango chutney
square bottle
gold lid
under the ingredients list
it says best before May 2913.
I admire the precision
of that ‘May’
wonder what happens after
April’s 30 days…
will a pumpkin midnight
catapult it’s sweetness to decay
or is it just the tipping point
of some slow bacterial slide?
What do they know, these labellers?
The jar put away
I drive along the bypass.
The voice on Radio 4 says showers –
sharp showers.
Shock of hail
sudden flurries of sleet
all these come and go
no knives yet
no shining javelins
or pin-thin darning needle drops.
I glance at the sky
and think of chutney
ripening on the shelf

… and from my keyboard-free fortnight, this one from my notebook (April 19th)

The birds in the forest

The birds in the forest

are green as pears speckled

as trout.  They stare

at the yellow sky

their long needle beaks

suck up the sun

their eyes are black beads

their wings folded close.

They are secret

filling the trees

invisible as leaves

more silent than still air.

There will be no murmuration

no gathering for migration.

They wait

in mute attention





About Jan Dean

This entry was posted in A poem a day for April and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Best before

  1. songsville says:

    Nice to see a fellow lover of the word ‘murmurate’ ! … I used it in my first poem this year … the ‘avid quiet’ line is a delcious way to end …

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