It’s coming up to Christmas but it’s hard to feel festive when the news is still full of Covid-19, lateral flow and PCR tests, the Omicron variant, double jabs and boosters. 

Added to all that, many of us naturally need cheering up in the dark days of winter so in this post there’s no mention of death or decay and not a word about worms, creepy crawlies or lost mothers.

Even in the gloomy uncertainty of the winter pandemic where celebration and travel may be limited there’s still the food and drink to look forward to: mince pies, chocolate reindeer or whatever treat you like best. On TV and in magazines there’s an infinity of instructions on how to serve a fantastic Christmas dinner with the most delectable wines. 

This month’s post is about celebration and exploration and especially about food, not food for the stomach but the food for the mind that poets provide.  There are of course many varieties of famous and amazing poets, from the desperately serious to the totally absurd, taking us on journeys to every corner of the physical and mythical world. 

But I’m becalmed in Barry and so I rarely go far. I spend quite a lot of time in my kitchen where I enjoy chopping, mixing and stirring words and phrases and cooking them into poems. I hope you’ll enjoy the taste of the poem I’ve cooked for you.   


There are poets that detonate fireworks,
their star bursts explode in the sky
and give the illusion the sparks
might spin to the end of the world.

Some poets explore the jungles inside
the dark human mind, machete in hand, 
straining each sinew, they struggle to slash 
a path to a new perception.

But here in my kitchen, deep in the suburbs,
no brilliance explodes from my old gas hob,
I’ve no machete, just a kitchen knife 
to explore the chaos of a cabbage heart.

Over the years I’ve learnt to concoct
a smooth language soup, a casserole of stanzas,
a stir fry of concepts and tasty sestinas, 
fresh cheesy verses and crisp poem frites.

For pudding a lyrical crumble or tart
with a lavish conundrum of custard
or a sharp summer fool: the fruits of experience, 
simmered and swirled with delirious dreams.

If fireworks or jungles have flustered your nerves,
come into my kitchen, I’ll cook you a supper
of succulent haiku and lightly tossed ballads,
and we’ll open a bottle of full-bodied myths.

Anne Bryan
The Chaos of a Cabbage Heart

9 thoughts on “FOOD FOR THOUGHT”

  1. Delicious Anne! I love the connection you have made between poetry and food and the way you have used words to cook up a tasty interesting concoction. Enjoyed it.

  2. I love the image of cooking and thinking and poetry. There is nothing more comforting than home cooked food made with love. With good food and wine there is often an exchange of ideas and opinions which provoke the mind. The best conversations are in the kitchen or at the dinner table. Food nourishes body and soul.
    Love the red cabbage – it is a thing of beauty with its striking purpliness!

  3. I think brilliance is definitely escaping from your old gas hob Anne!
    Have a fluster free Christmas and looking forward to sharing many ‘cheesy verses’ in 2022 – or ZOZZ as my father’s calling it!

  4. Loved your blog Anne. Love the connection between the words and your cooking. Both are always delightful. It is a bonus to us that you are becalmed in Barry when such lovely thoughts and words arrive on our iPads.

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