Thursday Thought: A Sunday Evening Meal

Bert Biscoe is a poet, songwriter, entertainer and politician who lives in Truro in Cornwall, where he is a member of the city council. I met him when he starred at the International Gathering of the Cornish American Heritage Society in Milwaukee last year.

With Bert Biscoe

Photo with Bert Biscoe

Bert is an amazing facilitator and connector. He was the key champion in bringing about our book tour of Cornwall in July, sparked by an insightful review he wrote of “The Miner & the Viscount.” He introduced us to the people with whom we arranged book talks and media interviews. The previous photo is of my daughter, Sarah and I at dinner in Truro with Bert and his daughter Molly.

Bert kindly agreed for us to post a new song he just wrote. He said, “Here’s a ballad I wrote last week – it is yet without a melody but, in its oblique way reflects the instabilities of the world and the diversity of people who pass through our lives whilst we immerse ourselves in domestic routines!”

How shall we pass the Sabbath
In these days beyond the pew?
We could stride Atlantic pathways
Where late-born seagulls mew –
Where gannets terrify mackerel,
Where voices beg for dawn
And echo through eternities
Through the white-water zawn –

O might we allow cold bellies a cry
Where boats plough mountain seas,
Whose shores feed lead to petrels
Whose whales enter ‘Not Guilty’ pleas –

Now, is our Sabbath a trial
And we the jury there
Whose sentence is denial
That pity favours care,

That liars spill a bean,
That truth may spoil the wine,
That spoken love is best unseen –
By he who’s sprayed the ‘EXIT’ sign

Or shall we take our blade,
With stone and steel scrape
To temper the flesh we season
And sweeten with our grape –

O shall we turn, you and I
To the preparation of flesh
To grace this Sabbath table
And thus our week refresh –

O! Shall you peel potato
And scrape a carrot clean
And rinse a sluggish cabbage
Or skin the lowly bean –

And I will baste the skin
With oils burned to scald
And we will stifle echoes
Of widows tightly shawled,

Of brothers proud proclaimed
Whose truth lies shrivelled away
Too soon to be clearly named
In fields washed down to clay –

Of friends we bring from deserts,
From islands scoured by war

To sit and chew and ruminate
Upon Atlantic’s barren shore.

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