I’d been yarning you about my childhood
in the seventies. In Yorkshire, offal
was often on the menu. ‘Peasant food’
I called it: liver, kidneys, heart. So, that single
Christmas we spent together, you made us
your father’s favourite, Holodets: meat jelly.
When we asked the butcher for pig’s trotters
he winced, but yielded two for free.
Back home, you boiled them for the gelatine –
added the garlic and tiny scraps of beef
and left it to chill. You made a mountain
of the muddy-looking stuff. Hating waste
you gave me boxes to take home. I have to laugh:
you dumped me before I acquired the taste.
The title poem of the sequence ‘Holodets’, which appears in Cazique, Matthew Clegg’s third collection. The sequence was performed at The Fat Cat, Sheffield, on 24 October 2019, with Clegg accompanied by singer & musician Ray Hearne (whose arrangements of ‘Song for a Little Child’ were devised for this occasion). Listen to the full performance:
More than 60 previous Featured Poems can be accessed via this index (many of these pages also contain audio recordings and short films).