Sunday, 27 November 2011

Scrimshank.



Yesterday afternoon, I was just preparing to bake another Christmas cake, when my daughter in law rang to see if I would like to go to a Craft and Food Christmas Fair at The Station, Richmond.
Readers of my blog will know how much I enjoy going there anyway and I am never one to turn down an invitation to go out rather than do a job at home.

As usual there was a terrific 'buzz' there. Children were eagerly waiting to go into the cinema to see The Sleeping Beauty; the stalls were all busy with browsers and buyers. There were hot mince pies, ginger wine, cheeses, game and other meats, handmade soaps, jewelry, preserves, sweets and much more. We had a wander round. I bought two bottles of the excellent Glendale Ginger Wine. Then we had a cup of coffee in the restaurant.

One stall was selling 5 bird roasts for Christmas - very Victorian I thought - the birds being pigeon, mallard, pheasant, chicken and turkey - each one stuffed inside the other, finishing with the turkey. They looked appetising but I am afraid I could not eat pigeon, mallard or pheasant =- I prefer to see all three wandering loose in the fields.

And so I arrived home too late to make a Christmas cake. It also made me think of that 19th century word 'scrimshank' which meant doing anything to evade work. I knew I had written a poem about that too, so I searched through and found it. So here today is another of my poems:-

Scrimshank.

The dust lies thick
where the sun falls:
but it also falls
on the apple blossom
on the old tree
by the window.
I touch the blossom,
smell the Spring
and watch the bees
(those models of work and efficiency)
and the dust lies thick.

The weeds grow fast
in the garden -
groundsel, chickweed,
fat hen and the
ubiquitous dandelion.
I bend and touch the
yellow flowers.
I cannot destroy
a hundred suns.

Someone should clean
the windows.
The sun shows up
the smears.
But there is a
gossamer web and a
busy spider -
I cannot disturb
her work.

We are out of milk,
and butter,
and bread.
But the road to
the shop has
stupendous views of the
Vale of York.
The sun is hazy and a
faint mist rises
and the trees are etched
in charcoal.

I stop
and sit
and look.
The jobs can be done
tomorrow
or the next day
or the next.....

Enjoy your weekend.

18 comments:

Pondside said...

That is a new word for me, and I love it. I may have to print your poem out and send it to my sister, who knows my tendency toward procrastination only too well. You really captured all the reasons for putting something off!

Gwil W said...

Another work of art. Lovely sentiments and so well expressed.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

What's the point of dusting - the world is made of dust!

Toffeeapple said...

Far better than working. Lovely poetry.

Elizabeth said...

Had not thought of groundsel in several centuries.
This lovely poem reminds me of WH Davies "Leisure"


I'm so thrilled to read this post ---it has uncovered a mystery! My father , in joking tones, used to say "You miserable skrimshankers !"
I never quite knew what a skrimshanker was!

Elizabeth said...

ps Yesterday's photo is a winner!

Heather said...

A wonderful poem Pat and not a bad thing to be a scrimshank I think. At least you appreciate the little delights of every day and the chores will always wait for you, and me!
The Richmond Station event looks and sounds well worth visiting and will get everyone in the mood for the festivities.

angryparsnip said...

Everyone needs a little, scrimshank, every once in awhile. An unexpected call to go to an art and food fair is the best way to spend an afternoon.
What fun.

cheers, parsnip

acornmoon said...

Very true and very well expressed, those jobs can wait. I am pleased to read that you had a festive treat at the fair.

Robin Mac said...

I have always loved the sound of that word but had never looked up its meaning - I love it even more now! The poem says it all, and going to the craft fair would be so much fun.

Pomona said...

I didn't know that word, but I have a feeling that it is going to become a favourite! I love your poem, and know those feelings.

Pomona x

Penny said...

I can relate to that poem! I am not the worlds best house wife, would rather sit and enjoy the view.

the cuby poet said...

Scrimshank is such a useful word,
avoidance just doesn't sound so good. The poem says it all and as we all know there is always another day.

Frances said...

Thank you for sharing that evocative poem, and for introducing me to a new word. I have a lifelong attraction to its definition!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely poem and yes I will often evade work for the sake of letting a spider keep her web etc

The Christmas Fair sounds as they it was a great event. The five bird roast sounds most rich and extravagant. Being a vegetarian and a birdwatcher I can't bear the thought of eating birds, except that for some reason I've often thought woodpigeon must be quite tasty...

rkbsnana said...

Another lovely poem.

Cait O'Connor said...

I love both the words in the poem and the sentiments expressed within it.

Arija said...

Your poem says it all . . . if I don't do the dishes today, they will be there tomorrow, it I am no longer here tomorrow, they certainly won't be my problem.