Monday, 20 August 2012

The Court Confectioner by Michelle McGrane

Forty years I've toiled in this kitchen,
seen queens rise and fall, shenanigans
I wouldn't confide to a soul
for fear of the hangman's noose.
Guard your tongue, I've always said,
and keep your eyes on the marchpane.

God knows, I've had my fill of feasts,
tempting fickle palates with sweetmeats,
the last word in subtyltes and conceyts
as crafted by masters in Paris and Naples:
trompe l'oeil dainties, gilded sugar-plums,
barberry doucets and spun-sugar swans.

Now I've a mind to retire up north,
keep company with my sister-in-law,
open a pie stall with a bright awning,
serve honest fare, no tricks or frills.
Market days I'll reap reward enough
warming cottars' bellies.

This poem is from Michelle McGrane's The Suitable Girl published by Pindrop Press in the United Kingdom and Modjaji Books in South Africa. Michelle also edits the contemporary poetry blog Peony Moon.

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