Friday, 15 March 2013

A long way from Bread

Here's a poem passed on by my friend Peter from the wonderful priest-poet, David Scott:

A long way from bread 


We have come so far from bread. 
Rarely do we hear the clatter of the mill wheel; 
see the flour in every cranny, 
the shaking down of the sack, the chalk on the door, 
the rats, the race, the pool, 
baking day, and the old loaves: 
cob, cottage, plaited, brick. 

We have come so far from bread. 
Once the crock said 'BREAD' 
and the bread was what was there, 
and the family's arm went deeper down each day 
to find it, and the crust was favoured. 

We have come so far from bread. 
Terrifying is the breach between wheat and table, 
wheat and bread, bread and what now goes for bread. 
Loaves come now in regiments, so that loaf 
is not the word. Hlaf 
is one of the oldest words we have. 

I go on about bread 
because it was to bread 
that Jesus trusted 
the meaning he had of himself. 
It was an honour for bread 
to be the knot in the Lord's handkerchief 
reminding him about himself. So, 
O bread, breakable; 
O bread, given; 
O bread, a blessing; 
count yourself lucky, bread. 

Not that I'm against wafers, 
especially the ones produced under steam 
from some hidden nunnery 
with our Lord crucified into them. 
They are at least unleavened, and fit the hand, 
without remainder, but it is still 
a long way from bread. 
Better for each household to have its own bread, 
daily, enough and to spare, 
dough the size of rolled towel, 
for feeding angels unawares. 
Then if the bread is holy, 
all that has to do with bread is holy: 
board, knife, cupboard, 
so that the gap between all things is closed 
in our attention to the bread of the day. 

I know that 
'man cannot live on bread alone'. 
I say, let us get the bread right. 


David Scott


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