Saturday, 30 March 2019

Free Samples, a poem about my father

Two nights ago I had the pleasure of reading at an event called Turn the Page, which takes place at The Book Corner bokshop in the Piece Hall, Halifax.  It was the first poetry reading I had done in almost a year, and I couldn't have asked for a warmer audience.

I opened with a poem about my father, a salesman, who died last year.  When I was young, he made a living selling sweets, later going into management.  He was very successful and an added bonus of the job were the many "freebies" he would bring home, especially on Friday nights when, from time to time, he would return home laden down with boxes of free samples from the various suppliers he was selling for.  Here is the poem, which I hope you like:


Often, on a Friday night,
my father brought free samples.

Bag upon bag,
tube after tube
of fizzbombs, blackjacks,
long and sticky strips of chewy tooth-rot,
sherbet dips, those necklaces
that made it feel like you were biting into stone,
candy cigarettes that minted up the mouth,
chocolates of every variety.

Best of all were the jellies -
sugar-speckled cola bottles,
vampire teeth, dusted jelly babies,
wine gums, jelly-reptiles,
strange multi-coloured snakes
oozing juiciness,
slivery holograms and foam mushrooms,
jelly beans and jelly bears and jelly bugs,
miscellanies of jellies, pastels, lollies, liquorice,
a copious outpouring of confectionary,
a life I thought would never end.

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