Unlike most of my poems this one is pure autobiography: my mother really did throw the glass over her shoulder and, at the time anyway, she really didn’t care.

Home Brew


Father’s wine had its own lexicon

of awfulness: mousy, ropy, goaty…

his proud but uncontested claim:

you can make wine from anything.

And to prove it would hoard unwanted produce:

parsnips, pears, beetroot, marrows, peas,

brambles and crabs and sloes from the hedgerows,

and douse them in a filthy bucket

with boiling water laced with sugar

to let the errant air-borne yeasts

that hung about the nether regions of our house

perform their alchemy.

And yet to go with Sunday roast

he’d find a dusty bottleful

of pink, sparkling fruitfulness

that made us chatter and laugh, and once

made mother throw her empty glass

over her shoulder as if she didn’t care.