search
Barnsley
Batley
Bedale
Beverley
Bingley
Bradford
Bridlington
Brighouse
Castleford
Catterick Garrison
Cleckheaton
Cottingham
Darlington
Dewsbury
Doncaster
Driffield
Elland
Filey
Goole
Guisborough
Halifax
Harrogate
Hawes
Hebden Bridge
Heckmondwike
Hessle
Holmfirth
Huddersfield
Hull
Ilkley
Keighley
Knaresborough
Knottingley
Leeds
Leyburn
Liversedge
Malton
Mexborough
Middlesborough
Mirfield
Morley
Normanton
Northallerton
Ossett
Otley
Pickering
Pontetfract
Pudsey
Redcar
Richmond
Ripon
Rotherham
Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Scarborough
Selby
Settle
Sheffield
Shipley
Skipton
Sowerby Bridge
Stockton-on-Tees
Tadcaster
Thirsk
Todmorden
Wakefield
Wetherby
Whitby
Yarm
York
Poem Of The Week: ‘Sunday Lunch, And Yet’ By Karen Smith
Steve Whitaker, Literary Correspondent
Karen Smith
The macabre brutality of the quotidian lights Karen Smith’s wonderful poem with ambiguity.

The streaming windows and smell of murdered cabbage which confused the senses in many a postwar suburban household on wet Sunday afternoons may be cause for fond remembrance, or continuing revulsion.

Sunday Lunch, and yet

there’s no whiff of roast flesh,
no puff of Yorkshires,
no Waltons-style dining table.
This is no magnolia-walled feasting,
no “How has your week been, darling?”
and “Elbows off the table, girls”,
no startled aunts with their wigs
slightly askew, marinating in their
cat-lady juices while they mop up gravy
with doorstop slices of granary loaf.
Oh no. No oven smoking in the corner,
no bitch fireside, licking her pups.
Just dad’s liver in the fridge, pooling.


The people in Smith’s gruesome narrative are conspicuous only in memory, and then as perversions; china figurines from an earlier world, trapped and rasping at each other.

The room is empty, and what, at first, looks something like an elegy is phlegmatically dismissed as aberrant, as secretive, as an act of volcanic concealment; a home where suspicion lurks behind skirting boards and buried antagonisms emerge always at the dinner table.

The half-meant enquiries, the pinched, proprietorial instructions are ‘noises off’; the awry wigs and incipient nastiness ‘marinating’, unfold against a backdrop of ‘magnolia’ banal and Waltons homeliness, which was ever, in any case, a self-parody.

The ‘roast flesh’ is studiously cadaverous; the overheating oven, a receptacle of immolation, overseen by a replete ‘bitch’ licking her pups contentedly, as indifferent as a voyeur at an auto-da-fé.

Also by Steve Whitaker...
Celestial Recurrences: Huddersfield Choral Society/Orchestra Of Opera North
Catherine Robinson: Local Author Nominated For Top Literary Prize
Poem of the Week: ‘Petit Mal’ by Philip Gross
After We’re Gone: All The Way Home By Jane Clarke
The Wingless Wasp: Significant Other By Isabel Galleymore
And the resonant final line, the amorphous swelling of liver, gradually ‘pooling’ in silence behind the closed fridge door, the oozing of blood suggesting dangers unacknowledged, yet palpable.

‘Sunday Lunch, and yet’ is taken from Schist and is published by smith ǀ doorstop.
For more information: http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/shop/994/schist

Poem Of The Week: ‘Sunday Lunch, And Yet’ By Karen Smith, 13th March 2019, 12:38 PM