“You cannot eat your cake and have it too.”
“Many hands make light work.”
“Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
In those years of privation,
seeking salvation in sparks of hope and glory—
quiet desperation, ceaseless threats, a story
overtold but left bereft, unlearned
through epochs here or anywhere–
in bombs’ red glare and burning air–
I dreamt of cake,
and of Mother and aunts—too many hands
at mixing stands,
beating butter and eggs, then sifted flour,
timing minutes turned to hours—
and there I sat,
a bud within the warmth of light-filled bower.
Now, when cake comes at any time–
with coffee, or perhaps some wine,
without the help of the long-lost many,
the cake’s too sweet—I’m spoiled by plenty.
This poem is not autobiographical. It’s for my dVerse prompt today. Come join us as we write poems influenced by proverbs.
This is beautiful, Merril.
I am just finishing up yesterday’s dVerse quadrille and now am inspired to have a continuation of that one for your prompt… not till tomorrow, though 😉
Thank you very much, Dale! I didn’t get to the quadrille prompt, though I liked it. I knew I wouldn’t have time , but I hope you’ll do this one tomorrow. 😀
I’ll have to push Friday Fictioneers (if I am inclined to participate, that is) 😉
Oh, just do them all! 😀
Oh hell no! I can’t keep up and you know me, I refuse to post more than once per day!
Just teasing. Sometimes I post twice, but rarely, but it is hard to keep up.
I know you are 😉
It is really hard to keep up. Oy!
Oh my goodness this is absolutely exquisite, Merril! I am especially moved by; “a story overtold but left bereft, unlearned through epochs here or anywhere–in bombs’ red glare and burning air–I dreamt of cake.” 💝💝
Aww–thank you so much, Sanaa! ❤️
I savored this. 🙂
Thank you so much!
a glorious panoply of proverbs in the mix here – that first verse is packed with feeling imagery and this line is pure poetry
“and there I sat,
a bud within the warmth of light-filled bower.”
Thank you so much, Laura. I’m so pleased you think so. 💙
This rings so true. I think a lot of immigrants took refuge in their cuisine, baking things that reminded them of home. I can see all those generations of women in the warm kitchen, the solidarity of poverty and difference.
Yes, I can imagine that, too. Thank you! 😀
Delicious poetry about delicious-sounding baked goods, Merril. Thanks. And thanks for hosting!
You’re welcome, and thank you, Ron.
So beautiful and delicious!
Thank you, Lucy! 😀
Leaving us all pleased with poetry and longing tor cake!
Thank you, Beverly! 😀
Sweet memories in the kitchen.
Thank you–not my memories, but I hope I sparked some for you.
Your last lines says it all! We are spoiled by plenty… and we don’t want to lose that privilege at any cost! Well done Merril.
Thank you, Dwight. 😀
You are welcome!
I loved this, Merril!
Thank you so much, Jill!
Cake is comfort in my book. Your poem reminds me.
Thank you so much, Claudia.
I know just what you mean!
There is more appreciation for things in scarcity. Those good old days where ingredients were scraped together, the cake did taste much better. Good writing, Merril.
Thank you so much, Lisa!
I’m not sure that it’s true things tasted better, but perhaps they were valued or appreciated more.
(I have a pet peeve against romanticizing “the good old days.”) 😀
You’re very welcome, Merril 🙂
Lovely. I love the focus on cake as a love offering.
Thank you so much, Luanne.
You know, I hadn’t quite thought of it that way–but now you have me thinking of all the times I made a cake for my mom or some family get together–out of love. ❤️
I like this poem a lot. I know what you mean about the cake being too sweet when we can have it any time.
Thank you so much, Liz.
It won’t stop me from eating it.😏
You’re welcome, Merril. There isn’t much that will stop me from eating cake, either. 😉
Superb. I’m pleased it is not autobiographical. When I was a child I ate orange peel as well as the fruit, because I didn’t know when I would get another. I still quite like it.
Thank you, Derrick. I’ve made candied orange peel. 😀
I’m pleased you saw this–I may have been influenced a bit by the autobiographical posts you’ve been doing.
That is a lovely thought, Merril. Thank you very much
As Joni said, proverbially, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…(K)
Hahaha. Best comment yet. 😀
Such a wonderful mix! So enjoyed it.
You are welcome.
I liked the bittersweet feel to this poem – you’re right, it’s all too easy to “treat” ourselves these days and not appreciate it…
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Freya! And feel free to write a poem, too. The prompt is still open.
Oh Merril- this is one of my favorites of yours. Your words are achingly beautiful.
Thank you so much, Linda! That is very kind.
I have been transported back in time … together, my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother creating magic in the kitchen. Me, their tiny helper. Sigh.
I’m glad this took you back to happy memories, Helen. 😀
I love these lines: “and there I sat,
a bud within the warmth of light-filled bower.” It does remind me of the long-ago days when my mom bakes pies from scratch. Usually on Sundays when I was at Sunday school. And there were the Sunday dinners which were a lot of work–the cooking and cleaning up–but it was also a social time with family … although usually the men were in the living room watching sports on TV while the women were in the kitchen doing the cleaning up. Some change is good 😉
Thank you, Marie.
My mom didn’t bake much (and never a pie). I sort of taught myself when I was a teen, and then became the baker–and both my grandmothers died when I was very young. Yeah, when they were together my dad did not do the cleaning, but my husband does!
It used to annoy me when the men (including my brother) would go off to watch TV. To this day, I can’t stand the sound of baseball games on the TV. Every Sunday, all summer long (eye roll). Fortunately, Greg does not watch sports … actually, he doesn’t even follow sports which totally perplexes my family 😉 And he’s the baker in our two-person family. Well, banana bread. He bakes that … a lot 😉
That’s so funny. My mom and sisters didn’t watch sports, so I didn’t grow up with it. My husband watches (or sleeps through) them 😏, but he will turn them off to watch something with me or go somewhere. I was thinking I hadn’t had banana bread in a while. . . .
Greg needs to make some more. I haven’t had a slice since Wednesday 😉
I love all the motions in this poem; the swift change from bombs and burning air to Mother and aunts, and hands at mixing stands. Comforting and evocative ❤
Thank you so much for your kind words!
A beautiful look back over family history and tradition, Merril and…you’ve made me really want a slice of cake!
Thank you so much, Ingrid. And I hope you got some a slice of cake! 😋
this left me with a smile. the homey and feeling of family is a delight. ❤
love the second stanza a lot!!
Thank you so much. I’m pleased I made you feel that way.
A sweet turn on the proverb – the memory of making cake is far more substantial than the mere sweetness of a made one. Nicely done.
Thank you very much, Brendan. It often is–true.
I love the rhyme in this. It’s unpredictable but yet rhythmic and certain and adds a sweetness to the words. The images are splendid.
Thank you for this lovely comment! Much appreciated!
I loved this.
It look so delicious
New blogger hope you will read my blogs( https://mydigitaldiary2.home.blog
Though, of course, the poem was not about this cake. 😏
Fun images —
This is as sweet as cake 🍰
Wow! This one is special.
I come from a pie family, and my Baba taught me how. I spent hours with her while she did all you spoke of, except after all that time spent a pie came out…not cake.
The “too sweet” … I get it! So, now I bake pies with no sugar. Perhaps a splash of maple syrup, or drizzles of a fruit juice.
Then I can eat plenty!
Thank you so much, Resa.
I’m glad my words brought you a sweet memory. I never cooked with my grandmothers because they both died when I was very young.
I really don’t mind sweet–and I’m happy with cake or pie. I bake both. 😀
A lovely memory, Merril. Baba is one of the best memories of my life. I can’t bake a pie without thinking of her.
Thank you so much!
That is sweet and tender.. 💙