I think of promises unkept –
once, a morning spent
stripping an espaliered apricot tree
limbs pinioned against old red brick.
August sun burned us both
as wasps in constant sleepy hum
gorged on fallen fruit
luscious pebbles in uncut grass.
Beyond the garden
cows moaned in nearby meadows
and the dale dipped to road and river
rising again to fields and drystone walls
Pen Hill sketched across a cloudless sky.
Steadily I filled the bowls
carried them to shade
ready for jam.
Split, each fruit revealed
a cluster of white grubs
squirming, fat and foul
sated on juicy flesh.
The compost heap devoured the lot.
I don’t regret the jam – rather
a loss of something purposeful and shared
bridging generations, unaware
this visit was my last
that fruit would hang ignored
and empty jars sit gathering dust and flies.
After decades teaching in the north of England and Scotland, Lynda Turbet now observes the world from rural Norfolk, and tries to make sense of it all through writing.