Monday, 9 April 2018

Ah yes, I remember by Ros Bayes

Keep a notebook, we’re told. Jot things down. You won’t remember them if you don’t. You never know when they’ll come in handy if you do. The trouble is, I don’t. In the days when I had a husband I kept a notebook beside the bed so that if genius struck in the dead of night I could scribble a reminder, because I knew that getting up at 2 am to start typing would not contribute to marital harmony. But at other times I’ve never really used the notebook because I find I have a fairly retentive memory, and when I start writing all those memories come to the surface and find their way into my stories anyway.  (Helen Murray referred to this too, in her post on 23rd March which, interestingly, I didn't read until after I had written this one.  Great minds think alike, Helen!)

I wonder if Jesus had the 1st century equivalent of a notebook. Did he need to jot things down as an aide-memoire or did he, like me, find the memories surfacing when they were needed? I wonder if he had a childhood memory of lying in bed overhearing the adults talking in whispers.  "Was he badly hurt?"  "Yes, there was a whole band of them. They gave him a hefty beating and stole his money." "Where did this happen?"  "Out on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho."  "Ah, it's never wise to walk that road alone."

Or did he, on his way to the synagogue school, watch the local farmer scattering seed and notice the diverse places in which it fell? Did he, as an adult, recall his mother lighting the lamp at dusk and watching the darkness banished by its flickering flame? Did he reflect on that and think, “Yes, that’s what I am to the world. A light that banishes the darkness. I am the Light of the world.”?

I like to think it may have been like this. I pictured this on my recent trip to India one day when I was doing some baking with the girls I was staying with. And my reflections on it resulted in this poem, first published on my own blog.

Bread of Life 

Did You, I wonder, watch Your mother, 
As these girls are watching me? 
Did You see her select from the shelf 
each hand-picked ingredient, 
chosen to bring flavour, texture, nutrition? 
Did You watch her measure with precision 
the right amount and combination, 
then pour in the water measured only 
by a long-experienced eye 
and, with supple fingers, 
gather the mix together, 
binding with that particular flick of the wrist? 
Did You gaze with undiminished fascination, 
as so often before, when she began to knead 
with those familiar knuckles 
that so many times had rapped on the door 
when she returned from the market, 
having left You securely shut inside 
with instructions to open to no one 
until You heard her signature knock? 
Did you watch as she lifted the kneaded lump 
Onto the stone slab, shaped and patted it 
before sliding it into the nook above the fire? 
As You studied her hands, 
Did You glance down at your own 
young, smooth palms and shudder 
at a fleeting foreboding, as if something 
might someday smash through their perfection?
Did You sit and gaze as the dough 
rose, settled into its final shape and crisped over, 
all the while the aroma tantalising Your nostrils? 
Did you watch as, with cloth-gloved hand, 
she lifted down the finished loaf, 
placed it carefully to cool in the centre of the table? 
Did You learn from her the right way 
to break and distribute the loaf, 
as You hungrily accepted Your share 
and allowed its savour to permeate 
your body and mind? 
And did You someday, many years later, 
remembering this day, 
reflect on how Your Father had selected 
everything the world needed to flavour, 
nourish and sustain it, 
blended in Your human form, 
kneaded together in her womb, 
and gently eased into the fire of tribulation 
that awaited You here? 
Was that the moment when first You knew it – 
I am the Bread of Life?

Ros Bayes has 10 published and 4 self-published books, as well as some 3 dozen magazine articles. She is the mother of 3 daughters, one of whom has multiple complex disabilities, and she currently works for Through the Roof ( as their Training Resources Developer, and loves getting paid to write about disability all day. You can find her blog at and her author page at Follow her on Twitter: @rosbwriting.


  1. I carry a notebook to jot down ideas, as I definitely would forget, but I don't use one at night. The few times I tried it, my brilliant ideas were things like 'he asks her out and the twist is she says yes' or 'there were deer and they had hoves – just like deer'.

    I'm not making those up. How come I still remember them, but not the actual good ideas I never scribbled down?

  2. Lovely poem, Ros, great images. Yes, I do keep a notebook beside the bed but sometimes when I am tired and can't be bothered, I think...Oh I'll leave it and write it down in the morning. Inevitably it's then gone. I should know better!