28 August 2021

The Saturday Poem: ‘Garlicking’ by Emily Cooper

Posted by John Clegg

‘If there is ever bad news, have it delivered to me in an Emily Cooper poem’, writes Ella Frears – but it isn’t bad news, it’s good news, the return of the Saturday Poem to the bookshop website, in this fragrant number drawn from Cooper’s debut collection, Glass, which is just out from Makina Books. Order it here.



Until I was an adult I always burnt the garlic –
it charcoals so quickly in hot oil. 
To temper the heat you must first add onions, 
perhaps some carrots and celery. If you choose 
to add the garlic first, never look away. 
Soon you add the tomatoes. 
A quick cooling is civilising. Such as a swim 
in a cold sea after you have had a row. 
The sea and tears have the same composition,
they taste the same. 

Consider wildgarlicking your sourdough. 
It will not rise. The antiseptic qualities of the garlic 
interfere with the propagation of the yeast. 
Their similar wildnesses do nothing to cohere
the two. You must add larger volumes of yeast. Allow it 
to bubble to excess. Give longer rising times. Be gentle 
but not overly considerate. Use the better basket. 

Raw garlic thins the blood. 
My Grandfather swore by it. He also recommended 
large plastic bottles of 7UP and many hours spent 
watching snooker in bed. A garlic clove in the vagina 
is a treatment for thrush.  Be forewarned of the lingering 
metallic taste of garlic in your mouth. Do not be alarmed. 
It seems obvious, all these things are connected. 

Books mentioned in this blog post