Saturday 8 October 2011

Poetry Saturday . . . How To Capture a Poem

for one at midnight
on the dark side of a backlit angel
or in the space between a sigh
and a word. Winter trees, those
elegant ladies dressed in diamonds
and white fur, may hide another.

Look for the rhythm in the feet
of a waltzing couple one, two, three-ing
in an empty hall, or in the sound
of any heartbeat, the breath of a sleeper,
the bossy rattle of keyboards in offices,
the skittering of paper blown along.

You could find a whole line
incised into stone or scrawled on sky.
Words float on air in buses, are bandied
on street corners, overheard in pubs,
caught in the pages of books, sealed
behind tight lips, marshalled as weapons.

Supposing you can catch a poem,
it won’t tell you all it knows. Its voice
is a whisper through a wall, a streak of silk
going by, the scratch of a ghost, the creaks
of a house at night, the sound of the earth
vibrating in spring, with all its secret life.

You have to listen: the poem chooses itself,
takes shape and begins to declare what it is.
Honour the given, else it will become petulant.

When you have done your best,
you have to let it go. Season it with salt
from your body, grease it with oil from your skin.

Release it. It has nothing more to do
with you. You’re no more its owner
than you hold the wind. Never expect gratitude.
~Angela ToppingLink

This is the first time I am featuring a poet that I have had the priviledge of meeting and doing a workshop with. Angela Topping is a published British Poet, having had her works published in a variety of magazines and by Macmillan,OUP, Hodder, Collins and Wayland in over 45 anthologies. Her work is beautiful, inspiring and thought provoking. Last Saturday I asked her if she would share one of her pieces with you all, and this is the one she chose.

Photo of Angela courtesy of Salt Publishing

I think she chose very well to gift us with this beautiful piece of her prose! You can read more about her on her webpage (just click on her name above) and you can read more about her latest publication, The New Generation, here. Thank you so much Angela for sharing this lovely poem with us today!

I created a little prose of my own yesterday.

Todd is always telling me I need to branch out and do more than little girls, etc. So I did this little piece yesterday to show him that I was more than a one trick pony! As always it is available as a print or a card. All you need to do is to send me a message and it can be yours! I love the way the sweet peas turned out! I always have to distance myself from a piece for a few hours before I can begin to appreciate it for what it is.

Oh, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian family and Friends! I hope it is blessed all the way through!

I made this lovely bread pudding for our dessert one night this week. Loosely based on the idea of British Sticky Toffee Pudding, I found it a very comforting and delicious capper to what had been a quite delightful day . . .

*Sticky Date Bread Pudding*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

As simple as this is it really is quite delicious. Who doesn't love bread pudding. This one, studded with sticky dates and crowned while still warm with luciously rich dulce de leche is a real lip smacking winner!

1 pound of day old brioche bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, approximately 8 cups
1 cup pitted and chopped dried dates
1 1/2 cups chopped ready to eat Deglet Nour Dates
(moist and golden)
6 large organic free range eggs
2 large organic free range egg yolks
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 3/4 cup of double cream
1 3/4 cup of whole milk
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
icing sugar for dusting
1 carton of Dulce de Leche for serving

Take a 9 by 13 inch bakign dish and butter it well. Arrange the bread cubes in it along with the chopped dates, tossing them together to make sure they are evenly distributed.

Put the eggs and egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until they are quite frothy. Add the caster sugar and beat again until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow in colour. Add the milk and the cream, mixing it in well on low speed and then stir in the nutmeg an vanilla. Mix well.

Pour the resulting custard evenly over the bread cubes and dates. Let sit for about half an hour to an hour in order to allow the bread th absorbe the mixture, pushing the bread down occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F. Bake the pudding for about 25 minutes. Open the oven door and give the bread a little push down into the custard again with a wooden spoon. (be careful not to burn yourself!) Continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife or skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool to warm. Dust with icing sugar. Heat the Dulce de Leche in a microwave for about a minute or so. Spoon some of the bread pudding out onto plates and then serve with some of the warm Dulce de Leche spooned over top. Delicious!

In The English Kitchen this morning some beautiful Fruity Muffins!

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