Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Hottest thing since sliced bread?

Annual College of Bishops meeting kicks off with a reflective day, the first half led by Brother Samuel SSF. We contemplate the need to be hungry if we are to be fed, that is to have empty space in our lives (including our diaries). Amazing varieties of fresh bread are possible. Aerated, non-nutritional, sanitized loaves rather obscure the possibilities.

Samuel brought us a poem written by David Scott for Hillfield Friary Families’ Camp:
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 doen 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 goes for bread.
Loaves now come 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 the 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 am 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 a 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.


Lesley said...

That's a lovely poem, thanks

Siobhan said...

David Scott is lovely and writes lovely poetry.

(He was our Parish Priest when we lived in Winchester)

Thank you for sharing.

Ed. said...

Hear hear - I really enjoyed the poem. Thank you!

richardlittledale said...

I once sat at a table with Croats, Serbs and Macedonians, and asked them whet the word was for bread. The resulting dispute about word and pronunciation (from those who had supposedly shared a common language) showed the Balkan problem in miniature!

We have, indeed, come a long way from bread.

Joe Haward said...

Thank you.
Love the blog and following. Pop over to mine sometime if you like.

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