(Roughly) Daily

The Baker of Amherst…

 

Emily Dickinson is, of course, renown for her verse; but acclaim for her poetry was largely posthumous.  In her lifetime, she was probably better known as the quiet-but-kindly lady who would lower baked treats from her kitchen window to Amherst children.  Her Rye and Indian round bread won second prize at the 1856 Amherst Cattle Show (though in the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that Emily’s sister Lavinia was one of the judges). And when the Dickinson family’s housekeeper quit, Emily took it upon herself to bake the family’s daily bread– a responsibility she retained even after a replacement was hired, in deference to her father’s preference for her bread over all others.

Even as her dough rose in the kitchen, so did her inspiration, which often struck as she baked.  So she would draft poems on wrappers and other kitchen papers; her poem, “The Things that can never come back, are several,”

The Things that never can come back, are several—
Childhood—some forms of Hope—the Dead—
Though Joys—like Men—may sometimes make a Journey—
And still abide…

…was first composed on the back of a friend’s recipe for Coconut Cake.

For more on Emily Dickinson’s kitchen connection, see “A Poet in the Kitchen” at History Kitchen.  And for Emily’s own recipe for Coconut Cake (or, as she called it, “Cocoanut Cake) click here.

God gave a Loaf to every Bird —
But just a Crumb — to Me —
I dare not eat it — tho’ I starve —
My poignant luxury —

To own it — touch it —
Prove the feat — that made the Pellet mine —
Too happy — for my Sparrow’s chance —
For Ampler Coveting —

It might be Famine — all around —
I could not miss an Ear —
Such Plenty smiles upon my Board —
My Garner shows so fair —

I wonder how the Rich — may feel —
An Indiaman — An Earl —
I deem that I — with but a Crumb —
Am Sovereign of them all —

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As we reach for the oven mitts, we might recall that it was on this date in 1306 that Robert I (aka Robert the Bruce) was crowned King of Scotland… at Scone.

Robert and his (first) wife, Isabella of Mar

source

 

Written by LW

March 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

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