14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four Nov-Dec 2023.
Aberbargoed, poem by Raine Geoghegan.
The Allotment in Aberbargoed
She sits on an old crate watching
her Taid pulling up cabbages
He pushes his large rough hands
into the soil and heaves one out
and as some dirt lands on her lap
she hears a wheeze as he stands.
It’s his bad chest. She thinks.
‘Too many years underground,
breathing in coal dust.’
Her Mam once told her.
She jumps up, brushing the dirt away.
‘We’ll have this for our dinner girl,
now you have a go.’
She nods her head and squats.
He gives her the small red trowel.
She teases the earth around the cabbage
sticks the trowel in
and wiggles it about.
‘Right now girl pull it out.’
Tugging at the cabbage with both hands,
she puffs her cheeks and tries again.
She’s almost there. Twist and tug
then up into the air it comes
Her Taid claps his hands.
‘Well done cariad.’
She stands laughing, holding the large vegetable
as if it were a trophy.
It starts to drizzle.
The sky darkens.
‘Come on my lovely, let’s go home.’
He takes her hand.
She knows when they get home
her Nanna will praise her for helping him.
She imagines the cabbage on the plate,
along with the Welsh lamb and gravy.
She walks quickly,
trying to keep up with his long strides.
Taid – Grandfather; cariad – dearest.
© Raine Geoghegan
Raine Geoghegan MA is a poet and playwright of Romani & Welsh ethnicity. She is a Forward Prize, twice Pushcart Prize & Best of the Net nominee. Her work has been published internationally both online and in print with Poetry Ireland Review; Travellers’ Times; Under the Radar and many more. Her essay, ‘It’s Hopping Time’ was featured in Gifts of Gravity & Light (Hodder & Stoughton, 2021). She has three pamphlets published with Hedgehog Press. ‘Apple Water: Povel Panni’ was listed in the Poetry Book Society Spring 2019 Selection. Her play ‘The Tree Woman’ was featured online with the Same Boat Theatre Collective in San Francisco. She is the Romani Script Consultant for the musical ‘For Tonight’. ‘The Talking Stick: O Pookering Kosh’ was published in June 2022 with Salmon Poetry Press. She has read at festivals in the UK, Ireland and Sydney.