Tony Harrison, A Fox and Our Back Garden

30 Apr

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 
Tony Harrison 

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.

As I was watching the fox, I thought a photo of the garden at the end of April might be right for tonight so here it is. You can see how lovely it is to have the field at the back of us.




9 responses to “Tony Harrison, A Fox and Our Back Garden

  1. nildamacedopaulino

    May 1, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Nice BLOG!!! ADD my BLOG too!!!! Kisses!!!

  2. Arkenaten

    May 1, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I ”stalked ” you from John’s post! Don’t be alarmed. 🙂
    I would have left just a ”like” but seeing the beautiful garden I thought it only polite to comment.

    Also, I see you live in Cornwall?
    How marvelous!
    My Aunt Barbara currently lives there. My grandfather was born in Troon, and my dad was born in Newquay.

    (My folks live up in Chester these days.)


    • mybeautfulthings

      May 1, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Hello! I sing in Troon every week with my choir, The Ingleheart Singers! How lovely to meet you. Thank you for calling in – a friend of John’s is always welcome. 🙂

      • Arkenaten

        May 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

        I see you volunteered in South Africa?
        If you’ve popped over to The Ark’s spot you will pretty soon realise I live in Johannesburg.
        And nice to meet you as well.

        • mybeautfulthings

          May 1, 2017 at 11:53 am

          I have popped over but didn’t realise that you are in Johannesburg. We were in Mapoch, a village in N W Pretoria – an amazing experience indeed. 🙂

  3. Susan L.

    April 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    You have a lovely home. Looking at the picture gives me a sense of calm.

    • mybeautfulthings

      May 1, 2017 at 10:56 am

      It represents lots of work and is now a lovely place to relax in. I am glad you feel that sense of calm too. 🙂

  4. utesmile

    April 30, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Such a lovely garden!


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