Saturday, September 08, 2007


We stood in trust on tidal bay

our youth laying fear to waste,

a-cockling was the sport of days

but never, ever, done in haste


As waters fell, we made advance

our small feet lightening mud

Trousers rolled on rubber boots

to cleave what once was flood


Lizzy, sister, sturdy picker

and me with giant’s bucket, faced

the steam of leaving banks in time

to join the local cockle race


We watched with keener eyes than most

for motes that pointed there

the smallest nuance, the bravest dash

that would bring our quarry near


Our dad said “there”, (he knew these things),

his childhood passing from

a time well spent in freedoms realms

and one that we take on


We dug the mazing, cloying sludge

For Scappies, Dawgs, and Jans

I preferred the Brownie chaps

Cooked in sea-glazed, floured pans


The hours ticked, and silently

we listened to the knell

of tiding clocks that struck the end

of hunting the barbarous

cockle shell



Yodood said...

Yet another dish enhanced by the delightfully natural adventure of gathering the ingredients oneself. Whether from the garden or nature the body/mind benefits more from aliments gleaned among the elements than from the warehouses keeping food from around the world locked up until you earn it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful wave of nostalgia washing around my feet Ms Minx...

Roberta said...

I've always wondered what a cockle was. A bit like clams? Clam bake! I prefer blue crabs...drawn in from the sea with chicken necks and boiled alive in beer...yummy!

Unknown said...

Ooh lovely, full of glorious memories, I remember those days... hunting mussels and mackerel with my dad...
Thanks, Minx.

Unknown said...

Just call me Minxy Malone!

Taffiny said...

I've never done that. Sounds wonderfully mucky.

Once I did make a feeble attempt to catch a crab, but it made a much bolder one to catch me (and I ran off)

Jay said...

wow thats sounds sad...i dont know if i read it rite but did some peoples die? idk im confused...

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Anonymous said...

I was humming sweet Molly Malone as I finished reading, then saw you as Minxy Malone in the comments. Fun.
We used to go flounder gigging off the Jersey shore.
What I wouldn't give for a steaming plate of mussels marinara from Teps...
loved your comment gregra&gar

John said...


L.M.Noonan said...

Are you sure you live in England...
what the hell are Scappies, Dawgs, and Jans?
A lovely bit of writing as usual minxy

Unknown said...

It was mucky, Taff, a mucky memory, but a very happy one.

There were some deaths a few years ago from people caught by the tide while cockling. I think the only ones who died in my poem were the cockles, Jay.

Nice memories, Leslie. (Btw, I have no keys to comment on your blog?)

Tidy comment, John, thank you.

Yes, I checked, LM, I am in England (well Cornwall, the bit hanging off the end). Scappies, Dawgs, Jans and Brownies are types of cockles. Mostly found in abundance in tidal estuaries, they are a bit like midget clams, boiled up with flour to clean out the grit and then served fresh with salt and vinegar.
I wouldn't eat them today but the memories still makes my mouth water.

Poetess said...

Loved this.


Unknown said...

singing cockles and mussels, alive, alive O.

Debi said...

At what point do they stop being alive-O? Is it when they're slithering down your gullet?

(Sorry - I'm battling a wave of nausea from Roberta's comment that featured the words 'chicken necks', 'boiled alive' and 'beer' ...)

Lovely post though, Minxy.

Unknown said...

Thank you Poetess.

Cailleach, the 'Tart with a Cart' is immortalised not far from you in Dublin's fair city. Funny how she has spread herself around the globe.

Just to add to yer nausea, Debi, cockles squeak (scream?) when they are boiled. I presume that they are well established in the otherworld by the time they hit the plate.
I agree that Roberta's delicious recipe sounds slightly revolting to a vegetarian, but I am not above a well soused paella (without the chicken).

"Cockles and mussels, and crabs and chicken necks - alive, alive-oh!"

Pants said...

Lovely poem Ms Minx.

In Australia there's a bivalve called a 'pippy' that we dig out of the sand. You prepare them the same as mussels.



Debi said...

Dunno about bivalves, but how can you eat something with a name as endearing as 'pippy'?

Wouldn't it be like scoffing Lassie ...?

"Veggies and vegans, throw up, throw up-O."

Unknown said...

Well, when you put it like that, Debi.

As a piscerian (a vegetarian with an occasional penchant for fish flesh) it is still beyond me how people get those salty snot-lumps known as 'oysters' down their necks. I would have thought a 'pippy' would be much easier to swallow.

Now, double 'Lassie' burger anyone?

Roberta said...

Oh Minx! Now you are talking my favorite menue! Oysters Rockefeller. Broiled on the half shell with garlic and parmesean cheese. Fresh parsley on top. I am salivating.

Debi..dear. Sorry to make you nauseous. You tie the chicken nexts to a string and cast it into the water. The crabs follow them home to the bucket. You do not eat the chicken necks. Sorry for the confusion.

merry weather said...

You have a lovely command of words, and this poem has great rhythm.

Thanks, I enjoyed reading that.

Unknown said...

No the oysters! They eat all the poo in the water.
They are quite fascinating though, Roberta. Falmouth (near me) has some of the best oyster beds (and yes, they have a 'sleep' in their beds) in the world - mainly due to the fact that they eat good quality POO!

Thank you, Merry. No command, I afraid - they do what they want. Sorry you came in at the poo point.

Anonymous said...

Minx, I hope this helps. Please let me know if you are still not seeing the comments box...
My website and blog have been intermingled, and I wonder if it's to the detriment of both.

Unknown said...

Rattled one off, Leslie, but it was like trying to get in Fort Knox!

Anonymous said...

Minx, You succeeded in breaking into Blog Knox. I apologize to you. I am now overtly awed by your relentless persistence.
You will now be able to comment at will, please, if you will.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Wonderful, Minx.

You may have out done yourself there.

Excellently done, thank you.

Scarlett & V.

Vesper said...

Very beautiful, Minx. You bring forth nostalgia and joy, so wonderfully...