This poem was commissioned by BBC Local Radio for National Poetry Day 2016. The brief was for 40 poets across England and the Channel Islands to write from the point of view of a landmark or object associated with the area their BBC Local Radio station covers. For me it was Herefordshire and Worcestershire. You should be able to work out what it’s about, though you may not guess exactly what I’m referring to at the end. I’ve added a note at the bottom of the page so you can see if you guessed correctly!
Close your eyes,
take me in your hand
and squeeze me.
the sweet smooth-skinned Sandlin Duchess,
the blushing May Queen,
the mysterious Scotch Bridget, worth keeping,
or Gwendolen, appealing, with a hint of wine?
Am I Dick’s Favourite?
Am I your favourite?
The apple of your eye?
Feel how small I am,
small but robust,
quality not quantity;
my breeding dictates my destiny,
Lizzy, Vicky, Gilly,
Amanda, Jane …
when I have matured,
when I have spent time
with Hilda, Lucy, Dora, Jessie,
Hereford, Worcester, Wilfred, Raven,
Darby, Joan …
you will have forgotten my name
but you will thank me
and bless me, dancing and singing,
as you drink from the Wassail cup.
© Heather Wastie
I performed the poem on BBC Hereford & Worcester yesterday, National Poetry Day. To hear my interview and poem, go to around 1:22 of Tammy’s show. I am also just about to post a recording of the poem on Soundcloud
There are 3 sets of names in this poem (in order):
eating apple varieties ‘deemed to have originated in Worcestershire’
bittersweet cider apples grown in John Worle’s cider apple tree nursery in Herefordshire
names given by Westons Cider (Ledbury) to their oak fermenting vats