Sloe hand

coming to that time of year

to go picking sloes

deep in the hedges

avoiding thorns

capturing the small dark fruit

my dad loved sloe gin

in midwinter

said it warmed him

deep in his bones

so i’d gather sloes

spend time pricking them

packing them tight in bottles

a touch of sugar

brown for the taste

& then the gin

as it would be his christmas gift

i’d pour a decent gin

& of course

this years make

was next years present

give the gin time to make

after a years soak

i’d sieve the mix

gussy up some nice label

just to make it his

he has gone now

ten years, more

& all the sloe gin is gone too

all the years of make

& I don’t go deep

this time of year

in the hedgerows

no longer need fear the thorns

because I cant abide

the taste of sloe gin

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