Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Mary Berry's Lashes by Michelle Madsen

Too rich, for one so well-baked
Unexpectedly caked in tarry crumbs
Of carbon black, Mary Berry’s lashes
Framing twinkles, glimmer cherries
Of ancient baking wisdom,
Steal the show
Bat-wings of approbation semaphore
Flashes of hot-scone glamour,
Glimmering treacle tart memories
Of how it was done in the 50s
Bake, rattle and roll
On an Aga, not a dancefloor
A second golden age, more
Home counties than Hollywood
Kitchen Aid your prop of choice
No call for hearing aids
To achieve the perfect bakers’ plait
Damask dimpled cheeks,
Choux buns steamed to perfection
Dusted with powder, a fine icing
Creased with disappointments
My buns have sunk
My sweetbreads are salted
Pastry as underbaked and wet as her mascara
And yet, through my dripping sweat
I see pity shining from her tiny eyes
A twitch of the neck, a shudder of pride
And she concedes that at least I’ve tried

Many have failed where you succeed Mary
Ghost of kitchens past, queen of cakes
An accolade from you and I’m baked

Michelle is the host of Hammer and Tongue Camden, the London arm of the UK's largest slam poetry network. She also runs and hosts I'm Sorry I Haven't Haiku and performs at festivals around the country.

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