Gillie Harries

Mint Sauce


I’m rubbing the soft leaves

between my fingers, early June

pre-dawn, almost-dawn,

not a breath of air.

The simple task, dead heading

the perennials, Chelsea chop style,

cup of Earl Grey in my left hand.

And there rises the child

with bony knees upon the chair

or earlier, standing upright

on that chair, balanced against

egg-yolk Formica,

an apron borrowed

and tied twice tightly

around an infant middle,

no waist.

My Sunday task, chopping

the mint for the sauce –

picking the mint in the vegetable garden

rampant and vivid green,

beside the asparagus bed, overgrown

a hiding place, for picnics

on leaves, of stones and seeds.

Concentrating with the blunt knife

the wooden board a spread

of possibility, alchemy.

Now I am able, read the

rimmed words aloud



goodness in our daily bread.

We intone that

in hats and gloves,

within the flint knapped church

sliding off the marly cliffside.

On marvellous fire once,

 they said,

from a falling Zeppelin.

The vinegar and sugar blend

in drops of edgy taste

do I measure out myself?

dip an illicit

wetted finger-tip

to the white toothsome crunch. 

The science of it intrigues

and yet, what begins in Nature

a green loveliness

reduces in effort to

 a brackish puddle,

yet was like heaven

 to the thirsty tongue.


I was casting about for a poem to submit and in the simple moments of quotidian life of a calm early morning ritual, the act itself became the poem. As happens often in my writing , the journey of the writing ended in a different place .

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