Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Marmalade days

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Outside it snows and sleets and snows again,
True February fare; but, kitchen-bound,
Entranced I stand in a small golden Spain ―
Mine for three hours at twenty pence a pound.

A citrus heaven, an ambrosial dream,
Where orangeries climb the glossy hill,
And, wrapped in wreaths of aromatic steam,
Figaro laughs and sings through old Seville.

The wild bees work long heavy-scented hours,
Humming, they drown the window-lashing sleet;
I stir the nectar, born of wax-white flowers,
And lick my fingers for the bitter-sweet.

Those Andalusian groves I’ve never seen,
But I’ve a jellied spoon and sticky mouth;
Young Keats can keep his blushful Hippocrene ―
I’ve plain glass jam-jars full of the warm south.

Oxford Times, 22 February 1963
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983