I dreamed of you last night;
you came into my dream, sorry-feeling and quiet
and watched me tap my birches.
You saw my penknife draw a nick in the white bark,
bleed clear sap into a bottle
and sometimes over my tongue, a drink of spring.
I wanted to boil it down until thick,
bottle it for your porridge. I wondered how long it would take.
I wondered if the cut would ever heal.
I wondered what we can ever give without reducing another.
I wondered if you'd accept
this stolen tree sweet, this scrumped blood of the wood.
Nicola Garrard is a part-time English Teacher and an aspiring novelist. She is previously unpublished. She has three children and a puppy.
Carol Ann Duffy says: There is a lot of space around ‘Birch syrup’ by Nicola Garrard, as though the poet has somehow managed to bottle the experience and reduced it to its essence. There is some very creative language here, phrases like ‘sorry-feeling’ and ‘scrumped blood’.