Tea and poppy rolls

April 26, 2011

Tanya pours me tea
and offers me poppy rolls and candied ginger cubes.
She tells me that
her feet hurt more now,
so she doesn’t leave the house too much;
and money’s scarce, but she gets by.
Some times,
she takes the underground,
four stations to Tensta,
and buys fruit at the market.
Meat is cheap there too.

I stir a spoon of sugar into the tea,
and tell her of my brother starting
on his own;
a little owner of a one bedroom slice of propriety.
She wants to help, of course,
How will he do his laundry, can he even iron?
I tell her that it will be fine, and
promise that we’ll tell her when we go to Ikea

The TV murmurs in the corner,
as Russian figure skaters
put on a show
for an easy audience.
I used to skate too, she says, but I started too late,
and I danced, for real, on stage

When I depart,
the cold spring sun shines in her hair
as she waves to me from her balcony


11 Responses to “Tea and poppy rolls”

  1. brian said

    this is an extraordinary capture of the ordinary…i like the little textures that make the scene come alive..

  2. dustus said

    There’s a genuine consoling voice in the narration in response to the woman. I like this.

  3. Claudia said

    hey anton – love this piece…such a brilliant caputre of everyday life…i can almost see the two of you sitting there..

  4. CatGem said

    so sad… so beautiful

  5. forpuck said

    Thanks everyone. I don’t feel this is a very strong piece, but this one is directly from life…

  6. I would argue with your comment, Anton – to me it feels a very strong piece, and even if it were made up, there is the feeling of it being real, a slice of real life served up along with tea and poppy rolls. I’m not saying you couldn’t make it ‘better’ if you chose to, but for me, I read the first line and thought ‘now this is poetry!’, as I settled in for a good read… I was not disappointed.

  7. Gay said

    You’re getting where you want to be, Anton. I can see this. The textures you admire are woven so effortlessly into this piece. I would swear I’d met her somewhere..at an ice rink, perhaps watching a competition, asking about my skaters. Well done! Gay

  8. I found it very accessible, with a undercurrent of the quiet despair of ordinary life captured by attention to detail. It reminded me of a silent hand held camera film, which show this by the looks and actions of the ‘characters’ rather then through dialogue

  9. wkkortas said

    As much of the tale is between the lines as in them; that is the hallmark of the true storyteller.

  10. […] read the second version, think it comes closer to the german original.. Another great example is Anton Gourman’s “Tea and poppy rolls” – highly recommend the […]

  11. beautiful…nothing ordinary about this.Superb depiction of a slice of life.

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