Monday, 22 May 2017

A poem by Sharon Phillips

What you learn from baking sourdough bread


It takes you six weeks to grow
your starter which is a long time to
wait for a loaf of bread but you think
you will learn how to be patient.

One day you notice that your starter
smells of vomit but no-one has told
you this could happen so you scour
the internet for advice and think
about the absurdity of the metaphor.

You use your starter when it smells
of a satsuma fermented under the sofa
for a week, when its bubbles remind
you of your stomach when you fret.
You prefer not to think about this.

When you pour the starter from its jar,
it reminds you of the spittoon joke.
Although this thought is unpleasant, you
enjoy the tingle of mild transgression.
You decide to buy some gel to spike
your hair but you don’t get around to it.

When you taste the tang of your bread,
you remember being abroad
so you eat it with gherkins
and Black Forest ham.

You read Elizabeth David, learn that
mediaeval bakers called yeast
“godisgoode” and wonder which deity
is responsible for sourdough cultures.
You congratulate yourself on the thought.

In February you find your starter in the fridge
where it has been since December,
behind blocks of special offer cheddar.
You throw it away and buy some yeast.
You still don’t buy hair gel.







Sharon retired from a career in education in 2015 and started to write poems and short stories again, after a break of forty years. She lives in Dorset with her husband, two dogs and two cats and is currently doing an MA in creative writing.

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