What stirs here, friends? Ambition, hunger and the wooden spoon
join together for the rise, fight to trap the crucial air.
Our three contestants work towards the best Pivithier
each with his ample, buttered love. What can we do but swoon
at this parade, their naked need to please, the spill and trick?
Though some would say it’s only cake, our heroes are hell-bent
on perfection: what could be more endearing than these men
who urge, with gentle rage, their sponges into sickly pink?
The fancies fall apart. Why, why? The icing will not hold.
Outside, on the soggy lawn, one dear man can hardly speak
for sobs: other losses, older griefs perhaps. But he takes stock,
moves on: this is the British way. Determined. Even cold.
Inside, it’s almond, rose, pistachio. Cakes rise again.
Outside, a hush where hopeful relatives in sweaters wait.
Inside, they’re done: the darling faces flush. It’s getting late.
Outside: the truth, our English garden and the rain, the rain.