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Loaves C O N TE N TS Five Seb

B r ead

No n -Haikus

Doubin s k y

Yeast Clare

WH i s t l e r

Pre cise Clare

IMAGES Clare

A

o f

T s ARTSARA

OF

H EAVE N

TRO W ELL

RE C I P E

KAY

MARI N A

WH i s t l e r

B READ JA NE

f ragme ntatio n

WH i s t l e r

SYRAD

F OR

C LARE


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F i v e

B r e a d

N o n - H a i k u s

Se b

Doub insky


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the smell of bread in the sun’s warmth – breaking dawn

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the cat looks at crumbs and moves on

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wheat bread, rye bread – our worlds are made of such nuances

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bread like love tastes nothing on its own

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crumbs on the floor – I follow my children but I am no ogre


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Y e a s t

Clare

WHistler


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it’s everywhere the outside of fruit among strands of hair in dust on the surface in the park traveling in flocks or wild taking shape like a lemon or a peanut or a club tiny single-celled fungus as different as a tiger and a tree remember its alive and all around me


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P r e ci s e fr a g m e n tat i o n (Marina)


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empty the bread find empty spaces get inside bread and find a way in

white heart pierced bread white bread pierced heart breathe with bread, a soft heart white heart pierced bread draw the needle through the bread to the heart


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tear a crust apart and make a jigsaw of it thread a chain through, clamping it take it for a walk on the chain watch it tear break and fall take the crust build it up refill where possible hold it together with needle inside can never be the same the outside is holed, loose and ragged held together by a pin and yet we are remade from the damage


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white table white gloves white coat the light flashing off a window small drift of flour on feet rub of flour to flour to crust what falls clear the powder off fill the measure, will it ever be enough enough to snow the brass cup and no more drift fall blow flour like snow measure line the flour place feel the give beneath your feet like standing in tons of grain buoyed up, warmed, held


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as one stamps wine bread is stamped with a magic seal

twist the silver knob will the bread turn a flour castle an insect fork three small keys

like counters the heads are slowly drawn away towards tiny doll’s-hair plaits arranged as carefully as chess a map with model ships these boats of corn set out towards the seed


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now it lies indented shaped like a rough baby a prehistoric find bathed in white powder sealed and marked and measured

the actual beauty of plain things crusted bread ravaged and torn crown the body flower the bread

I bite and I don’t eat

Clare

W histler


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B r e a d

o f

Jane

h e av e n

Tro w ell


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Bread of Heaven Feed me now and ever more. * Two great-grandmothers. One English, Elizabeth. The other Welsh, Edith. One born in December 1867. The other in January 1883. Winter babies. One living in respectable, lower middle class, small-town Berkshire, The other living in a respectable working class industrial mining village in South Wales. One married to a bricklayer, The other married to a coal miner. One with four living children in their teens and, The other with (between four and eleven?) living children from infants to teens. One with a dead child, The other with two dead children.


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Both church and chapel-going. Both from the Non-Conformist tradition. Both with husbands who were well-regarded in their jobs. One with a husband whom she suspected of ‘carrying on’ with a neighbour’s wife. The other with a husband who nightly drank away his wages, in the Miner’s Arms. Both angry. Both upset. Both tired. 16 years apart in age. One who wouldn’t shut up about her suspicions. The other who, at the end of her tether, fetched up outside the pub one night, and demanded, through the door, that her husband come out immediately. One who kept causing a scene, vocal in her outrage, attempting to shame her husband. Did she strike him? The other who caused a scene, threatening to break every single window in the pub if her husband did not come out. One whose husband Charles, assisted by the GP, eventually succeeded in having her ‘committed’ to Berkshire County Asylum. She was 50. He was 55. It was 1917, the third year of the war.


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The other whose husband Richard did not emerge, leading her to smash every single window in the pub with a brick. We don’t know when this happened. One who was shut up for 12 years, ‘excitable, aggressive, and suffering from delusions’; one among 1000 ‘lunatic’ inmates. The other by 1917 had given birth to 8 children, and who between 1917 and her death in 1927 gave birth to another 5. One whose children, youngest aged 10, were made to give testimony leading to her committal. The other whose community understood the pressures. One who after 7 years’ incarceration, wrote a secret letter to the police, complaining of ill treatment by electricity. The other who after breaking the windows was charged only with the costs of replacing them. One who was only released on the death of her husband. He died of influenza in 1929. The other whose husband never stopped drinking. Elizabeth lived independently for a further 21 years, dying in 1950. My father remembers her as an upright, stern woman. On hearing that the GP had died, she said “Serves him right”. Edith died during the birth of her thirteenth child, aged 44. Her alcoholic husband lived on for another 30 years, a genial drunk to the end.


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* Bread of Heaven Feed me til I want no more Guide me. * Elizabeth missed out on my granny’s tender young adult life, between 13 and 26, leaving a void surrounded by a taboo. The void surrounded by a taboo echoed down through the generations, fostering silences where Elizabeth’s brave talk should have been. But, incarceration, taboo, silence did not help my cousin’s mother, who lay her head in the oven in Granny’s house. Incarceration, taboo, silence did not help my granny or uncle explain to his son her death. Incarceration, taboo, silence did not equip my cousin to survive the truth, when it eventually came, when, some years later, it overwhelmed him. Edith died leaving my 21-year-old newly-wed grandma inconsolably broken-hearted, with seven siblings under the aged of 14, whom she and my great-uncles took care of.


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The smashing of the windows did not save Edith, who died too young after much hardship and back-breaking labour. But the smashing of the windows and the understanding of the community echoed down through the generations, a culture of honest expression of feelings, of anger, joy, jealousy, love, grief. Two women. Two wives. Two cultures. Both angry. Both upset. One made ‘mad’? One understood. Both who suffered unimaginably. But whereas one was alienated, forcibly detached from all she cared for, publicly stigmatised, made strange, The other was adored through thick and thin, and grieved over for decades after her death. (My great-uncle Graham told me only three days ago how it breaks his heart that he never knew his mother.) * And their girls, my grandmothers?


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“I wish I’d had daughters” said my granny, repeatedly, to her granddaughters. “Better out than in” said my grandma, repeatedly, to her grandchildren. Both loved music. One sang in church, and played the violin and piano. She encouraged her boys to do the same, two of them filling the silences in their parents’ marriage, filling the holes in their hearts. As best they could. One for life. The other sang in Eisteddfodau and chapel, a golden voice. She encouraged her girls to do the same, both of them filling the air with uncomplicated beauty. One for life. My father and mother fell towards love through music, a lightning clap of attraction. She the lead soprano. He the producer. They made us, my sister and I. And between their inheritances gave us courage, joy, balance, expression. But also, stumblingly for my dad, an insight into being in the dark, and, more importantly, of how to see beyond it. Not an easy place to share with your children. *


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What did they do to you, Elizabeth? Elizabeth of Billericay, born to a bricklayer, married a bricklayer-cum-builder. Which codes did you break? What goaded you on? What on earth did you do that led to 12 long years of incarceration? And how did you survive it? Dad and I are plucking up our courage at last. We’ve come to find you. Guide me, Guide us. Your grandson, your great-granddaughter. * Bread of Heaven Feed me til I want no more

Jane

Tro w ell

Sep tember

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In the Welsh hymn, ‘Cwm Rhondda’ the chorus is not Bread of Heaven but “Hollalluog”, meaning omnipotent or almighty. In the most commonly sung English version, this is transmuted into Bread of Heaven. NB.


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A

r e ci p e

f o r K ay

C l a r e S y RA d


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Wear a voluminous coat with pockets for bread like a pigeon cote in a medieval house Allow the dough to stretch and suck you back as if by wind or ice or a great unknown force Read the story ‘Daffodils’ by Rosalind Belben about two ladies who ate daffodil bulbs instead of onions: they were saved from death by the baker’s son Know the breath inside the bread is the breath of alchemists


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Ac k n o w l e d g m e n t s

Jane Trowell Marina Tsartsara Kay Syrad

Wit h

t ha nks

John Forrester, Lea Cornthwaite, Hattie Stutchbury, Wycliffe Stutchbury, Blackthorn Bakery, Sandie Rose, David Rhodes, Ali Aitchison, Seb Doubrinsky, CAConrad, Jane Trowell, Marina Tsartara, Kay Syrad Jane Trowell would like to thank artist Miche Fabre Lewin for introducing her to the Blackthorn Trust’s bread back in 2005, and for it being her beloved daily bread ever since.

Fi lm

Marina Tsartsara desig n

Raphael Whittle Print

Elephant Print Ltd P h o t o g r a ph y

Clare Whistler Jane Trowell Marina Tsartsara

Gi fts

Clare Whistler Š 2012 www.clarewhistler.co.uk


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Loaves  

Bread Gifts six Clare Whistler

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