Carol Ann Duffy

To Boil Bacon

First soak the meat
according to its saltiness
in tepid water,

while in the tree outside
a blackbird shakes the weather from its wings.

Cut off from the underside
the brown, then scrape,
then score, the rind,

while on your wet red hand
the hard gold glinting of your ring.

Pierce an onion with a clove,
then put into a saucepan
with the ham, then bring to boil,

while tears jerk in your eyes
to soothe the sting.

Remove all scum.
Replace the lid, then simmer gently,
twenty minutes for each pound,

while children running by outside
whistle and sing.

Allow to cool. Cut off the rind,
then cover with bread raspings,
let it stand,

while on the wireless
the sudden abdication of a king.