[poem + recipe] solitary scones

“Drinking Tea in the Garden” by Edit B. Toth.
by Judith Heron

Our need is surely now for gentle news.
Lives, stilled by necessity, call out for calm,
a kind of deep attention monks have known.
My kneeling stool has become a friend.

The garden and my small abode are alight
with both loss and pleasure. Old songs spring
easily to an open heart. The call, to replenish
gratitude, knocks each day on my door.

Odd that I have perfected now, the recipe
for scones. Buttermilk with ginger, apricots,
free range eggs that turn them golden.
Tops brushed with milk, a dust of sugar.

Old friend, it is you I wish I could
bring them to -- in a basket covered
with a cotton cloth -- and walk again,
arm in arm, round that mountain lake.

~ as published at Your Daily Poem (March 2021)
“View from Rebecca Spit (XXII)” by David A. Haughton (2020).


“Solitude” by Jan Chesler.

No matter how truly sad, frightening or stressful it all was, having our lives “stilled by necessity” in the early days of the pandemic gave us a unique opportunity to self reflect and focus on what truly matters: human connection.

When we were suddenly thrust into unpredictable lives of isolation, we learned to take nothing for granted. Have we ever been as vulnerable or felt as powerless in the face of an invisible enemy?

Heron’s meditative poem points to the power of solitude and introspection, of calling upon inner strength to soothe, calm, and comfort. When quiet, with more time to observe our surroundings, we appreciate more fully those small things in the everyday. In deep reflection we embrace gratitude.

“Where the Wild Things Grow (II)” by Nancy Cadogan (2021).

We became truly thankful for so many things: home as haven, grocery delivery, healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, masks, scientists, books, music, streaming services, the internet, an adequate supply of toilet tissue, Zoom.

It might be odd to speak of the “rewards” of experiencing a pandemic, but I’m one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason. If nothing else, we’ve learned how fragile life truly is, how interconnected we all are on this planet. And when it comes to family and friends, absence makes the heart grow fonder. 

“The Loner” by Tony Caviston.

Now about those scones. 🙂 The poet perfected them, just as millions perfected their sourdough loaves. Could I resist making some? Of course not. I just happened to find a recipe online that sounds like the one Judith mentions in her poem. We even invited Dr. Fauci over for old time’s sake. He made sure we washed our hands before starting.

These were delicious warm with a little butter. The apricots and ginger added texture, while the buttermilk made for a tender crumb. Will definitely make these again; maybe next time I will brush the tops with milk and dust them with a little sugar, just like the poem says.

Apricot Ginger Scones

  • Servings: 6 scones
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, grated or diced
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 large or x-large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the apricots and ginger.
  4. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk in a small bowl, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, stir just until evenly moistened (the dough will be sticky).
  5. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and press together gently into an 8-inch diameter circle. Cut the circle into 6 equal wedges using a sharp knife.
  6. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart. Bake until the scones are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.
Tips: Freezing the butter beforehand will make it easier to grate. Instead of using a pastry blender, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips.

~ Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Baking (Weldon Owen, 2006)


The lovely and talented Tabatha Yeatts is hosting the Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Drift on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. Happy Writing and Happy Weekend!!


“Eat two of these and call me in the morning.”

*Copyright © 2023 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

39 thoughts on “[poem + recipe] solitary scones

  1. Oh, your post and that poem slipped through all my defenses and wrung me out. Perhaps it’s the loss of my dear friend for whom I baked scones (lemon ginger were her favorite) or perhaps it’s the resounding life truth of this: “The garden and my small abode are alight with both loss and pleasure.” And then your words about finding the “rewards” of the pandemic, and the power of gratitude…and then as my eyes filled, a Carolina wren appeared to sing to me atop the newly fallen snow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear about your friend. While it is indeed tragic that so many lives were lost due to the pandemic, what I find more objectionable is the large number who died needlessly because of political agendas, selfishness, and incompetent leadership.

      There is a Carolina wren who sometimes visits the windowsill where I sit at my desktop every day. I always think it’s a message from someone I’ve lost (“birds are the messengers between heaven and earth”). Someone checking up on me. It has such a sweet song.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Scones remind me of my mother, gone now for nearly 5 years. She loved hers with raspberry jam and clotted cream. In many ways I am deeply relieved she died before the pandemic. As a person deep in dementia it would have been so confusing for her and excruciating for me to imagine her that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve thought the same about my parents not having to experience the pandemic, even though neither had dementia. After living through the Great Depression and WWII, it was more than enough hardship for a lifetime. BTW, raspberry jam and clotted cream is also my favorite!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope that we all learned during that time, Jama. My daughter and I talk once in a while about it, and know we don’t really remember it all because it became a blur of re-inventing our lives. Thank you for this caring post, with scone punctuation! Happy Weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll never understand the animosity and attacks on Dr. Fauci. He’s a scientist and his concerns were about saving human life in a situation where there were many unknowns. But people needed someone to blame, to demonize.


  4. Oh, my, so much beauty here. I love the idea of dried apricot and crystallized ginger in a scone. I would eat two of those, even if I don’t need to call the doctor in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jama, “we’ve learned how fragile life truly is, how interconnected we all are on this planet”-This is a truth we cannot deny. That you for the lovely pause and reflect post with calming poetry and a delicious-looking recipe. I love scones and want to try these.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It still amazes me how the entire world had to stop in its tracks for this one disease. The fear, the suffering, the uncertainty, the hopelessness and loss of life. Rather than be grateful to still be alive, there are those who continue to thrive on hate, divisiveness and destruction.


  6. It is indeed no small thing to have one’s life “stilled by necessity,” and to learn to lean into it. Every time I think I’ve learned, I realize that there’s something NEW to learn. That “kind of deep attention” can slip, and the busy, world-crowded senses we have occasionally falter, so we need to sit – with those lovely scones and a bit of tea, refocus, and lean in again to concepts of stillness and calm. Thank you for articulating this so beautifully – and for always filling our cups with so much on just a brief blog visit. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The learning never stops. We’ll always need reminders to be still, pay attention, be grateful. That often seems to be the one redeeming practice in life that makes sense.


  7. Thank you, for this lovely blog. I am ready to visit a tea shop as soon as possible! Add a book into the mix, and I am visiting asap. I love scones and tea! Have a restful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Our need is surely now for gentle news.” Isn’t that just the truest truth ever written? And scones! Hubby makes the BEST chocolate chip scones. If it weren’t the time of year for his birthday cake, I’d put in a request right now! (I’ll wait a week or two until the leftover cake is gone…)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jama, what a beautiful, reflective, and touching post. You feed us, as always, in so many ways. Thank you for the emotional and scone-filled sustenance you always provide. 🙂

    Heron’s poem is lovely and poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

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