On the theme of mental health, I looked my coping mechanism and those of my family.
First I explored my use of gardening in handeling depression, how planting seeds can turn the threat of grey days into a promice.
Then turning to the people who shaped me, I traced my lineage in three short poems about how the different customs of the places I’m from deal with life, be it pickeling, brewing or grilling.
Gardening on Grey Days
Once again I was lucky enough to write for Refresh Magazine, on a theme that I’m sure we can all relate to; mental health. Just like everyone else in the Post-Rona world I have had to seriously adapt my methods of coping, of keeping my sanity mostly within my grasp. For this I have mainly turned to gardening, to planting veg and sprouting seeds and generally hoping that something will grow from it. But being in lockdown with my family made me also have to confront how they deal with things, how I have learned to deal with things. From this my three short poems, a collection of Odd Remedies, were formed. Each tackles different ways of cooking with feelings (something we seem to all have gotten more into in this time).
- Avoidance- The steeped tea feelings of Britain.
- Preservation– The pickle-brined ways of Poland
- Repentance– The barbequed loudness of America.
Tea storm in a china cup roll the leaves under such a smooth surface Placed down in patience weighted bag dunked twice then drips to the sink Made a small mess considering the soon spill if you forget your hands Or the overflow from a sugar lump and imposed sweetness Always coasters too minimise the marks the stains of life No proof we were here but the hot touch kettle and some sodden brew
While loss can turn you stomach on itself so can the brine you keep it in Cardamom buoys mark buried forms the submerged and the salted In ferment holds bitter swollen growth once fresh veg and once fresh hopes Always saved for some harder winter tomorrows storms are rolling in But find here at cupboard’s end some odd remedy with a too tight lid
Hickory smoke, worms its way though my lungs and nose it mills about by the open fire beer in hand, with the salt-pop of charring seafood, lemon-wedged From the earth today, in the midst my aunt tore tomatoes, zucchini, rage pummelled lettuce into submission hacked back the young tendrils threw them on the flames This summer the tarmac melted and in the afternoon, cicada screaming the hills loom in, peek inside the barbeque offer back-seat-grilling advice and wind just about everyone up Then onto plates, clamour turns to clatter set tables and tempers with butter pots garden peas, guilt and generations smoke-sweet flavour dissolves and for a moment, in the heat, comes peace