The silver jelly spoon, heirloom
in gran’s kin, would emerge from gloom
of cupboard after the rowan jelly set.
I was berry picker, tree-climber,
the first grandchild.
Even now, I sniff creamy-white blossom
in May, sister to bees, and in September
pluck bright red berries before the trees
remember to switch their green to pink,
scarlet, gold. I still stroke five-pointed
stars at stalk ends that evoke
Orkney granddad’ who told me they’d
keep off ‘baddies’. He made a walking stick
from rowan, shooed me from raw berries,
muttering ‘Not until gran boils them
into jelly’, adding ‘If one leaf leaves
the Orkneys, the land will go from the folk’.
Gran would cluck, a sensible Scots woman.
But long ago, she made me a charm;
twigs in a cross tied with red thread
and told me a dragon guarded every rowan.
But jelly-making was what I loved most;
gleam of copper pan, avalanche of sugar,
whiff of simmering berries,
straining through muslin, and finally
the silver spoon graced with a wobble
of jelly, the sweetest taste.
photo credit: Jonathan Pielmayer, Unsplash