Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0258 While The Enamel Holds - Poem by Michael Shepherd

I've just made a passable loaf:
the mixing bowl could almost
be called a Thanksgiving Bowl -
maybe, could start a fashion:

it's made, not of catering-trade steel
which spins nicely on the worktop
nor of plastic, but
of enamel, made about 1929 I guess,
by Kockums of Sweden, size 28 cms
it's clearly stamped -
Kockum's whose proud claim is that
'it lasts a lifetime' - if
you're fortunate enough to be able
to test it thus...

my mother used it to make cakes
- I can hear the scratch of sugar, butter, flour, right now;
sometimes the smell of lemon or vanilla too. And
for her, too, gratitude, I guess,
while she used it, hands and thoughts,
although she could not put it to
the Kockum's test...But the silvery marks
of the fork, or whisk, or careful knife that
left little for me to lick,
disappeared from its strong enamel

and now I use it to make bread
wondering how many of
the current users could verify
to Kockum's management
their proud claim

for it was only late in life that
my mother told me that this bowl
this small 28 cm bowl
was my first baby bath

so as I use it with these mixed emotions
mixed together in this mixing bowl
receptacle of love on love
and thanksgiving
I note with some reflection
that recently, one slight chip
in its circular bowl has appeared
due perhaps to carelessness, not in
the preparing but the washing-up...

and think I'd rather think
(you see - the baby turned out intellectual)
my life were rounded by my failures in my care
than the life of an enamel bowl
however guaranteed

perhaps we'll go together...
dust to dust, flour to flour,
flowers falling to nourish
the seeds of flowers to come

I must remember to ask
my executors to write Kockum's
and confirm their not so often
substantiated claim

Comments about 0258 While The Enamel Holds by Michael Shepherd

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/1/2016 9:47:00 AM)

    My mother used to make cakes. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

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  • Ernestine Northover (11/25/2005 1:07:00 PM)

    Those sounds of Mother stirring in an enamel bowl, you have triggered my brain to remember them too Michael, and 'things' made then tasted so good somehow, the aroma too was delightful. Thanks for reminding me. Love Ernestine (Report) Reply

  • (11/25/2005 11:45:00 AM)

    Great poem! As a fellow bread-maker it makes me ashamed that I use a large plastic bowl, ca.1997, though I do still use my grandmother's recipe. (Report) Reply

  • (11/25/2005 8:52:00 AM)

    I knew it's not just a bowl of cherries! A excellent and reflective piece Michael. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Cj Heck (11/25/2005 8:14:00 AM)

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this poem, Michael. So many memories all tied up within a mixing bowl. How very astute to write about them.
    Hugs to you,
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, November 25, 2005

Poem Edited: Friday, July 14, 2006

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