Butter : Ross Donlon


Wið geswell, genim þas ylcan wyrte myllefolium mid buteran gecnucude.  ‘For a boil, take the yarrow plant mixed with butter.’  

(This is the first recorded use of ‘butter’ in English.)

The Greek boutyron joins bous (cow, ox) and tyros (cheese) to make our word for butter.

Cow’s Cheese might sound loony as a cow jumping over the moon but there it is, original butter.

What do you think of when you think of butter? I remember Nan buying a stick of Norco,

something almost alive in the ice box like a delicious piece of sun. Or sin. Ah butter.

50’s memories. No Butter Bloke but there was the Bread Man. Horse and cart parked, he galloped

upstairs to our bread box. We waited in the flat like brigands, ready to mug hot bread with butter.

We eschewed the crust (later used to make curly snails) and dived into a wheat-warm womb

slathered gold. Then with marmalade, honey or jam we added bliss to the blessing of butter.

And so to sex. Has essence of cow cheese never occurred to you as you reached for the heights?

Yet far beyond pharmacy’s plastic packs waits the original lubricant of Eros. Hellooooo, Butter!

My friend’s thing was shaving cream. He loved to brush love poems on his lover’s pelt.

Me, I dreamt of fun couplings with the glory of Norco, but could never wait for the butter…

    to melt.