The First Taste

A holiday in Spain. Amongst the trees,
nestled just a stones throw from the waves
which lapped the shore, the tents in their enclaves
lay open, hoping for the faintest breeze.
The morning routine soon fell into place:
“Get up, don’t wake your Mum!” “Go play downstairs.”
“Who wants a drink?” “an egg?” “Don’t cheat, play fair!”
“Please go and get the bread (it’s not a race!)”
The bread came in a van each morning, warm
and golden. Cries of “pan!” drew in the crowds.
And in those crowds, a boy. A young boy, proud
to be allowed to choose the shape and form
of that day’s bread. And with it, you could say,
the shape and form and flavour of the day.

At first familiar shapes were carried back.
Long elegant baguettes with dappled skin
which barely held the soft white crumb.
Or individual rolls for sandwiches to pack,
ready for a day up in the hills.
But after not so many canvas nights,
emboldened by the tantalising sights,
The boy’s pesetas sought out other thrills.
Each day the crust grew thicker, and the crumb,
translucent in the summer heat, brought sour,
unfamiliar tastes as rich brown flour
found something wholly different to become.
In that old van beneath the Spanish sun,
A long, slow transformation was begun.

© Richard Clarkson 2013


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