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Haworth Hodgkinson

Haworth Hodgkinson

Poetry 2007–2017

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© Haworth Hodgkinson 2006–2017

Working Lemons

Haworth Hodgkinson


I. My Contribution to the Scientific Literature

What is there to say
about lemons,
the most unselfish of fruit?
The acid in their flesh
alerts our tongues
to whatever else we may be eating.

Rather like decaying soya beans, with vitamin C for protein,
I wrote.

II. A Day in the Life of a Working Lemon

Unemployed, I wake up late.
Tonight I must eat.
I must go in search of food.

There is no time to plant seeds —
I am too hungry to wait for results.
I could go out hunting —
chasing cabbages along the beach
or turnips across the hills.
No, that is a skill my ancestors forgot.
I must go to the supermarket and obtain
food for promises on paper.

Casually avoiding the dairyman and the fleshwoman
I arrive at the display of perfected plant life.
I pretend not to notice the young assistant
picking mushrooms from the floor
and rearranging them on the shelf —
those trodden beyond recognition
are gracefully kicked beneath the cabinet.

I wonder why I never buy
lemons, lettuce, lychees,
preferring less respectful fare.
Idly, I glance over
red apples, green apples, pineapples,
this week's special reductions —
what will it be tonight?
My first cherry tomato?
What could I use to liven up
yesterday's rice
or tomorrow's inquisitive potato?
Cautiously I handle a large Hungarian onion,
looking to see if the carrots are watching.
Dare I?

I arrive home with an out-of-date cauliflower,
rain-damaged bread,
last week's newspaper,
and a lemon.

III. Another Day

Another day, quite by accident,
I caught the end of a radio feature
about how lemons work.


Written 1993
Revised 1994/2000
Edited 2006

Published in A Weakness for Mermaids, 2007
(Koo Press)

A Weakness for Mermaids

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