Bread-Making in Winter

For months frayed foliage has covered earth,
the agèd year is faded to sepia shades
and now it turns again to white and grey
with early dusk as winter draws its breath.

The frigid bite of January’s mellowed,
outdone by the aroma, as it lingers,
of yeast and flour wafting from your fingers,
familiar scent of sweat from kneading dough.

My stomach’s hollow with the taste of frost
so, rolling up the warmth of sweater sleeves,
I spread with butter soft as yellowed leaves
a fragrant slice of home-baked wholemeal toast.

Our lips taste nutty from the crumbs of bread
and, suppered well, we make our way to bed.

Kim M. Russell, 3rd January 2019

Related image
‘The Baker’, oil-on-canvas painting by Job Adriaensz Berckheyde (1630-1693) held by the Worcester Art Museum.

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar Poetry Forms: The Sonnet , also shared on Poets United Poetry Pantry

This year, dVerse Poets will be creating a new book, a kind of handbook of forms with examples of poetry prompted by and shared on every second Meeting the Bar. It starts this Thursday with the sonnet, hosted by Björn, who tells us that the prompt will remain open for four weeks to allow for editing and perfecting our entries.

He reminds us in a summary of the sonnet of its history, structure, meter and rhyme schemes, and says that his article on sonnets will be updated based on our input and will grow into an entry for the upcoming book.

Björn asks us to write a sonnet, link up, and use the opportunity to read through the comments we receive with a view to editing our work. He says that we are welcome to link up an old sonnet that we feel fits the prompt or we can take a favourite free verse poem and rewrite it as a sonnet; it would also be interesting to add a short note about our thoughts when writing our sonnets.

I have written quite a few sonnets and decided to try my hand at taking a free verse poem and rewriting it as a sonnet. Some of you may remember the poem ‘Bread’, which I wrote for Amaya’s prompt at the beginning of December. Here is a link to the original poem: 


90 thoughts on “Bread-Making in Winter

  1. Thanks for sharing the link to the original. It gave me hope for attempting the same process.
    This is a truly delicious sonnet….the scents, the tastes and sights….divine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Candy! My husband has got really good at baking all sorts of bread. He loves the therapeutic qualities of baking as well as the taste of his own bread. I benefit too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You lost me with which form you chose, but hey, there are so many to choose from. The poem is delicious, literally. I, too, was hooked by the line/my stomach’s hollow with the taste of frost/. I like the idea that the original poem was free verse.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yes i remember that free verse and did the same from another of Amaya’s prompts. warm bread and winter chill dance with each other in your sonnet. like the January bite and sinking teeth into warm bread.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, you make me want a slice too! I can practically smell it, taste it, and savour the texture. and can almost feel myself snuggling into that cosy bed. Which makes this a pretty powerful poem, as it is the height of sub-tropical summer here; I am wearing a sarong and have two large electric fans going full blast. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And here I am with my woolly jumper and socks! 😁 Thank you, Rosemary. I’m just about to venture out into the British winter chill. I’m waiting for my husband to finish the washing up – he made breakfast too!


  5. There’s a bun in the oven of this sonnet, life awakening inside winter’s freezing womb. How refreshing and vital. Nice sonnet too, Kim, mellifluent and crusting with fragrant steam.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is my new favourite from you, Kim! These lines in particular are amazing 😍 “I spread with butter soft as yellowed leaves a fragrant slice of home-baked wholemeal toast.” ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like this. I enjoyed the hint of sexy kneaded into the bread making and eating before going to bed. I’m not good with form, but I can say I enjoyed your modern sonnet, perhaps even more so because yesterday my husband too baked some bread and in a way it was quite poetic.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Smiling I am at the end of your sonnet. You’ve captured the cold and frostiness of winter but absolved it by the baking of bread with its delicious aroma. I can actually taste it in your last lines. A delectable sonnet!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely poem and beautiful description of the bread making process.
    The smell of freshly baked bread is something I love. While reading your poem I could feel hunger pangs for bread with butter…yummy! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kim! This is such a brilliant idea! Take a free-verse and sonnet-ize it! I MUST give that a try. Really love your rhymes; they catch me off guard. Your 3rd quatrain just made me smile…and kind of hungry, too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. an “old world” feel to this sonnet Kim — rich for the descriptives and it almost has that heavy, dough rising, through the process feel to it – ending with the bite, of satisfaction.

    this stirs all memories and dances with the senses, and it feels like a walk back in time; I almost feel as if I’m witnessing the sacred art and nature, of bread-making, which was/or came to be so much of a staple – and you’ve brought the importance of the nature, of the harvest, of life’s cycles and bounty into this really well.

    I appreciate it very much, but forgive me for being honest here, but as I was mentioning to Bjorn, so often, I find sonnet forms, especially when writing to the meter, end up sounding “clunky” to the ears …. which is maybe why I’m not crazy about the meter (although I’ve just written my first metrical sonnet) … so I really like this sonnet, but alas, it feels a bit thick on my tongue – and that’s not because of the wonderful images, but rather, I suspect, because of choosing to “meet the feet” requirements.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all the wonderful praise and for an honest appraisal of the form – I preferred the original version but thought I’d try to turn it into a sonnet for the challenge. I need to look at them side by side, maybe even work on a different version. Poems are never finished; they are living things, that grow up and develop, even when they’ve been published. If they haven’t, then that’s good too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with your thoughts — and every attempt is something new to the mix, and well, at the end of the day, only we can know if it’s “done” (as much as they ever can be) – and all I can say is that I truly do appreciate the poem, even in its new form, but the more I’m sitting with sonnets, the more I realize that I’m personally looking for that “flowing seamlessness” to the words … so that’s just me …. and god knows, I’ve only written 3 sonnets, (one for you, and 2 for the d’verse challenge, only one of which I’ve now posted, as per Bjorn’s request – and damn, I even worked the metrics, – so I can say, “hats off” to you who are so bold to write repeatedly, and very well, to this form. I guess practice makes perfect! And thank you for your help and honesty back Kim – it’s much appreciated and most welcomed) –

        Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughter and I needed to lose weight so we went weeks without pasta bread rice or potatoes…agony. But we did lose weight. Bread is especially difficult to give up I think.

        Liked by 1 person

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