Gollop's

Gollop was our grandmother’s butcher.
Saying his name out loud, you swallowed
a lump of gristle whole. Even the thought
of going to Gollop’s made us gulp,
made my little green-eyed sister’s eyes
grow rounder, greener. Swags of rabbits
dangled at the door in furry curtains;
their eyes milky, blood congealed
around their mouths like blackcurrant-jelly.
You’d to run a gauntlet of paws.

Inside, that smell of blood and sawdust
still in my nostrils. Noises. The thump
as a cleaver fell; flinchings, aftershocks
as sinews parted, bone splintered.
The wet rasp of a saw. My eyes
were level with the chopping bench.
Its yellow wood dipped in the middle
like the bed I shared with Rosy.
Sometimes a trapdoor in the floor
was folded back. Through clouds of frost
our eyes made out wooden steps, then
huge shapes shawled in ice— the cold-store.

Into which the butcher fell,
once, bloody apron and all.
When my grandparents went to see
Don Juan, and told us how it ended
Like Mr Gollop! I whispered.
Mr Gollop only broke his leg, but
          Crash! Bang! Wallop!
          Went Mr Gollop!

we chanted from our sagging bed,
giggles celebrating his downfall,
cancelling his nasty shop.
As the Co-op did a few years later
when it opened on the High Street.
Giving him the chop.


from Punk with Dulcimer (Peterloo Poets, 2006), © Anna Crowe 2006, used by permission of the author

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

Anna Crowe portrait by Swithun Crowe

Anna Crowe Downloads

1'Passing Weather' and 'October Song'

£0.89

2Skating Out of the House

£0.89

3Gollop's

£0.89

4A Calendar of Hares

£0.89

5The Palm Magnificat

£0.89

6Scops Owl

£0.89

7Punk with Dulcimer

£0.89

8Acnestis

£0.89

9Visiting the Home of the Brave

£0.89

10Homing

£0.89

17First Love

£0.89

18Schoolchildren on Via Augusta

£0.89

19The Attic

£0.89

20Common Rush

£0.89

21Keys

£0.89

22Diver

£0.89

23Eve of another war

£0.89

24A Shepherd's Voice

£0.89

25From Preserved: Between the Image and the Word

£0.89

26I have lost my bearings

£0.89

27Mended fence, Barra

£0.89

11Trunk of fig tree from can vent

£0.89

12Trunk of Fig Tree From Ses Rossells

£0.89

13Fig Tree at Ses Carritxo

£0.89

14Fig Tree Bark

£0.89

15Figure in a Landscape

£0.89

16Fig Leaves II

£0.89