June 12, 2009
There was a mild disturbance among the employees at the Scottish Poetry Library today when librarian Julie Johnstone brought strawberry Jaffa cakes in for afternoon tea. Dave Coates (23, pictured) was the first to try the rogue cake/biscuit variant. He declared them to ‘not blend as well as Jaffa originals’ saying ’they taste a bit funny’. Julie, didn’t like them at all, agreeing with Jane that they tasted like the horrible Quality Streets left over on Boxing Day that nobody likes but everybody eats.
‘The taste was just not right; not what you’d expect of a Jaffa, more like Turkish Delight’, one spokesperson, who wishes to remain nameless, stated. A commenter on Facebook told Our Sweet Old Etc, via a Facebook comment, that ‘as the custodians of language, poets should strenuously resist this insidious travesty’ [making a mockery of the name Jaffa by flavouring it with strawberry]. Lizzie MacGregor was unavailable for comment, though one witness claims she ate two. The investigation continues.
The largest strawberry ever grown weighed 8.17 ounces, that’s 231g.
Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside
The word strawberry comes from Old English words ‘Steowberie’ or ‘Streowbelige’.
There are no known poems written about Jaffa cakes.
June 12, 2009
… imminent tasting of strawberry Jaffa Cakes
…next week’s Listen With… SPL (Wednesday 17 June, 3 – 4pm); have a cup of tea with our Ryan in Residence and Peggy and Dave and read poems. If it’s sunny, we’ll take to the terrace. Lovely.
… a course on National Security Initiatives next week, including how to deal with the alarming sounding Vehicle and Person Borne Improvised Explosive Devices
… more exciting words, and not just those found under the cover of poetry books. Robyn remarked that she had received the word ‘cripes’ twice in one day from two different correspondents. We’ve also found reason to enjoy Baron, almanac and stramash.
… Refugee Week (15 – 21 June) including Shared Poems and lunch in St Andrew Square on Thursday 18 June from 1 – 2pm.
… the weekend! Weatherman says rain
We want you to complete our headline, SPL braced for… Prize for bests!
June 12, 2009
It is with a degree of trepidation that I cross the threshold of the library today… because I am carrying a packet of STRAWBERRY jaffa cakes. Things could go badly wrong at Friday tea-break-time. They are surely going to be in the category of things are are just not quite right.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with strawberries. Edwin Morgan gets it absolutely right in his poem ‘Strawberries‘ – right down to that perfect last line: ‘let the storm wash the plates’. (We have lovely free postcards of this poem by the way – drop in to get some or we can post them to you.)
Dare I say that a good poem is like an original jaffa cake (orange), and that a not-so-good one is maybe (they’ve yet to be tasted of course) more like a strawberry jaffa cake. Some poems are just perfect – all the ingredients blend together to create something greater than the sum, something that lingers in the mind for ages. Others just don’t. Those good poems – happy accidents? Or more likely incredible skill hiding behind apparent simplicity.
Last lines – are they the hardest part of the poem to get right? Poets out there, tell us please. The challenge of bringing a poem to a close, yet quietly leaving it open for the reader. I’m reminded of the story of Robert Frost and the ending of his poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. I hope I’ve not imagined this - correct me if I’m wrong. But I believe he was writing the poem and didn’t know how to end it, so just to fill the space of the last line of the last stanza temporarily he repeated the third line of that stanza: ‘And miles to go before I sleep.’ But somehow that sounded right, and he never did change it. And how could it be any other way now?
We’ll let you know how the strawberry jaffa cakes tasted later maybe…