Noticing Small Things

“Writers live in the same world as everyone else. They just pay attention.”

- Robert Friedman

I kind of spend my life stumbling around noticing small things, so you can imagine my delight when Friend K. sent along this fragment of a poem:

“There is beauty in homely things

Which many people have never seen.

For instance, do you know

Sunlight through a jar of beach-plum jelly;

A rainbow in soapsuds in dishwater;

An egg yolk in a blue bowl;

White-ruffled curtains sifting moonlight;

The colour of cranberry glass;

A little cottage with blue shutters;

Crimson roses in an old stone crock;

The smell of newly-baked bread;

Candlelight on old brass;

The soft brown of a cocker’s eyes?”

- from “A Letter to Mother”

Author unknown

Of course, it begs the question: Is it really “beach-plum jelly”? Or “peach-plum jelly”? Or, in fact, “beach-bum jelly”? I’ve never heard of a beach plum. Dr Google coughed up the following excellent article from The New York Times, from which you will learn all about the elusive beach plum, where to find it, and how to make authentic beach-plum jelly.

The jelly recipe brings to mind a piece of family lore, in which a Certain Someone arrived home late and tipsy, and, trying to navigate the kitchen in the dark, stumbled head-first into the hanging bag of boiled and dripping grapes. A mess of royal proportions, I recall being told.

And a different sort of stumbling from mine spent noticing small things. I like to think I’d have noticed the bag of grapes.


Categories: General.