By Lynn Valentine
The wid prepairs fir winter
as the trees gie up thir leaves
A spring we’ve been in oor hidie-hole,
lockit doon in oor bit o green.
Wir cheenged, markit be this year,
a sheuch o losses plood intae the sile,
the wurld tremmles, corbies waatch,
oor hauns shakin’ wi prayers.
The wood prepares for winter
as the trees give up their leaves.
All spring we’ve been in our hiding place,
locked down in our patch of green.
We are changed, marked by this year,
a furrow of losses ploughed into the soil,
the earth trembles, crows watch,
our hands shake from prayers.
Items found in the lockdown kitchen
Coffee that’s not bitter enough;
an empty spaghetti jar;
loo rolls, too many loo rolls in the weird space of cupboard to the left of the hob;
kitchen rolls, same as loo rolls;
a one kilo bag of risotto rice (no-one in the house likes risotto);
two boxes of inferior Shiraz;
five types of cheese that are stinking the fridge out (the Cheese House do deliveries);
four different packets of crackers (see Cheese House delivery);
three four packs of chunky Kit-Kats;
two Kit-Kat wrappers well-hidden at the bottom of the bin;
a five-year-old jar of pickle that’s made it’s way to the front of the cupboard;
the last three Lady Grey teabags with a do-not-use-on-pain of death post-it attached;
six boxes of grain-free dogfood;
rhubarb (the neighbour has a patch);
lentils (never thought I’d feel lucky to have them);
the last banana with bruised skin;
me, crying at the sink;
coffee that’s not bitter enough.
I wrote Items found in the lockdown kitchen during the UK lockdown. I couldn’t believe that there was panic buying on top of the pandemic. The video of the nurse after her shift finding out that the shelves were empty still haunts me. Once the worst of the panic buying was over I remember my husband bringing home a bag of shopping including fresh bread and ripe tomatoes and I thought I will never take wee things like fresh food for granted again.
Openin/Opening was written in autumn 2020. I live a few miles out of Inverness but have hardly been into the city all year. I’m asthmatic so although not quite shielding I have been very careful about going to busier places. One of the writing joys for me this year has been starting to write more poems in Scots, the language that surrounded me in my childhood.