St. David’s Day

“Gwnech y pethau bychain mewn bywyd” (Do ye the little things in life) St. David

March 1st
To and fro spin yellow and green,
his fingers twirling the daffodil.
Over his half-moon glasses,
his eyes stare directly into mine.
From a wry smile come the words:
“A true Welshman, wouldn’t just
carry the leek, he’d eat it – raw!”
His commanding Welsh voice informs,
he’s my form tutor, my authority figure,
every year on St. David’s Day
I give him a daffodil for his desk.
I’m twelve, and my father was Welsh!

A leek: one of the most seemingly benign of onions…
In a leek and potato soup it adds a pale
hue of lime, and is mild and sweet to the taste.
But raw, it is sharp, bitter, and bites the lips.
When cooked, the layers fall harmlessly apart,
rings garnishing meals with greenish gradients.
Raw, it is tough, unyielding, brings tears to the eyes,
and does everything but melt on the tongue.
But I’m twelve, and my father was Welsh!

I resort to nibbling throughout the day,
a little here, a little there, followed up
with lip balm for my stinging lips.
No time for eating a proper meal,
this leek has to be devoured.
End of the day, the leek’s a short stump,
my belly is both hungry and sore.
I go to bed feeling nauseous –
Still, I’m twelve, and my father was Welsh!

Epilogue: St. Patrick’s Day
I arose the next day ashen faced,
and somewhat greenish.
Leeks were in season all month,
the sight of which ensured
I was still green for March 17th.

Written for dverse poets poetics prompt green. Listen on soundcloud


37 thoughts on “St. David’s Day

  1. ha. a mean little trick by the teacher, a tough repayment for the daffodil…testing your pride…are you true…will you live up tot he heritage and eat the leek raw…ha…bet that did give your tummy quite the shock…

  2. ..funny at first read i thought it was ‘leech’ & i was a li’l sick for i couldn’t imagine one beeing eaten nor was it edible…lol… then i looked back again & read… thank goodness it was rather ‘leeks’ & not leech… ha… well between the two def i would prefer leeks 100 million% better than leech… and one more thing i like leeks as i once used to be a vegitarian so issues here if i ever eat it raw…ha… excellent write & i really enjoyed it..thanks..smiles…

  3. still green for March 17th…hahah…so good… i can imagine how hard it must have been but hey it says much of you that you didn’t give up…think he was proud of you…smiles

  4. Ha. What a lesson for me. No raw leeks. This is such a heart warming poem. It hints at the relationship with your father through the attempts at eating leek. So tender. It’s a lesson too for those who really want to be green for St. Patrick’s day. Just eat raw leeks.

  5. This is absolutely delightful. You created both character and setting in this. The first time I cooked leeks, I didn’t clean them well and the soup was gritty from the dirt way down in those layers. I still get green thinking of it and can’t imagine eating them raw. And I would love to visit Wales.

  6. Interesting and unexpected tale, delightfully told. If it wasn’t for the prompt, I’d say you don’t really need the Epilogue; I think the poem would be even better without it.

    • Yes, now St.Patrick’s day is out the way and the green theme has passed, it might be good to leave it with the refrain – I shall perhaps do some editing at some point.

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