It is April 30th and I have made an attempt to publish a poem every day throughout this Poetry Month – didn’t quite manage it! This one is a delight to me. Tony Harrison was born on this day in 1937 and his poem celebrates his Father who was adept at icing Wedding cakes but didn’t seem to mind that his work was ephemeral, destroyed in the celebration of a marriage. I love how Tony Harrison relates the ephemerality of the iced cake to the short life of the sandcastle built by him and his Dad as the tide comes in. I love the salt water of the sea tied up with the salt of his tears as he both remembers and mourns his Father.
The Icing Hand
That they lasted only till the next high tide
bothered me, not him whose labour was to make
sugar lattices demolished when the bride,
with help from her groom’s hot hand, first cut the cake.
His icing hand, gritty with sandy grains, guides
my pen when I try shaping memories of him
and his eyes scan with mine the rising tides
neither father nor his son could hope to swim.
His eyes stayed dry while I, the kid, would weep
to watch the castle that had taken us all day
to build and deck decay, one wave-surge sweep
our winkle-stuccoed edifice away.
Remembrance like ice cake crumbs in the throat,
remembrance like wind-blown Blackpool brine
overfills the poem’s shallow moat
and first, ebbing, salts, then, flowing, floods this line.
We had a fox in the back field today. The photo is on maximum zoom and isn’t very clear but gives you an idea of what we were watching for about twenty minutes.