Toast

Here’s another poem done as an exercise from Stephen Fry’s ‘The Ode Less Travelled’. It’s from the chapter on Anglo-Saxon Attitudes and the apprentice poet is tasked with writing some lines on food using the alliterative principle. Each line of this type of poetry follows the pattern BANG BANG BANG — CRASH! Here’s my attempt (this should definitely be read aloud):

The serrated slicer spreads the butter.
Today it’s toast with trickly honey;
Golden and good and gloopy and sweet.
Nimbly I manipulate the knife to stop drips:
The quickness required! The requisite speed!
Twisting and turning this stainless steel cutter;
Move hastily—hesitation holds no reward.
The ground is the goal where gravity’s concerned—
It wants you to waver, it welcomes your wobbling—
But you must usurp it, exuberantly wielding
The slicing device in your vice-like grip.
This condiment, carefully curated by bees—
Those mini magicians transmuting the flowers,
Zipping and buzzing with zeal round the garden.
Alarmingly, of late they say that apiary is greatly threatened.
Bees are besieged and it’s we who are to blame;
They need a certain space, a certain freedom.
There’s a paucity of pollen in the places that we’ve built up;
Those vexing environments, their views distinctly gloomy.
“Think twice,” they’d say, “your tarmacadam tendencies are ruining
Our ability to ‘bee’ in this bud-forsaken world!”
But enough about that stuff, bees are tough and I am hungry
So it’s “Honey, you’re home!”, then it’s HHOM in my mouth.

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