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An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
Table Of Contents
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Crab apple jelly

Vicki Feaver

Every year you said it wasn’t worth the trouble— you’d better things to do with your time— and it made you furious when the jars were sold at the church fête for less than the cost of sugar. And every year you drove into the lanes around Calverton to search for the wild trees whose apples looked as red and as sweet as cherries, and tasted sharper than gooseberries. You cooked them in the wide copper pan Grandma brought with her from Wigan, smashing them against the sides with a long wooden spoon to split the skins, straining the pulp through an old muslin nappy. It hung for days, tied with string to the kitchen steps, dripping into a bowl on the floor— brown-stained, horrible, a head in a bag, a pouch of sourness, of all that went wrong in that house of women. The last drops you wrung out with your hands; then, closing doors and windows to shut out the clamouring wasps, you boiled up the juice with sugar, dribbling the syrup onto a cold plate until it set to a glaze filling the heated jars. When they were cool you held one up to the light to see if the jelly had cleared. Oh, Mummy, it was as clear and shining as stained glass and the color of fire.

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