In the universal cake house, the layering of a feast

We had guests today, so I baked pound cakes in fluted moulds, following a recipe [1] that is absolutely super easy with delicious outcomes. I adapted it to create a low sugar, but stronger vanilla version. Sour cream pound cake is a fine way to use any extra sour cream taking up space in the refrigerator.

It was when I unmoulded the cakes last night that I thought of how exquisite they looked, out of those rarely used bundt tins. I had enough time over the course of today to think of what this fine geometry should spark, a poem of sweet confections perhaps. The aroma of cake while rain is misting a garden feels a bit like the smoky woods, wise witches, cake castles, a cascade of the folkloric, Hansel, Gretel …

I remembered Alice Maud Krige, the elegant witch in the 2020 fantasy horror “Gretel and Hansel”, directed by Oz Perkins, based on the German folk tale, “Hansel and Gretel” by the Brothers Grimm. I thought of the indefatigable Gretel in the same movie. I realise that life is the stuff of stories, our well crafted fictions.

Alice Krige is forever imprinted on my mind as one of the ‘Sleepwalkers’ from the movie adapted off Stephen King’s unpublished story of the same name, a film featuring chameleon cars, unfeeling cats and a feeding complex tinged by the Oedipal. She fit into the 2020 ” Gretel and Hansel” like I would believe in water and salt. This movie also showcases a Gretel waiting to turn to the dark side, who is the perfect sister to her naive younger brother, brave as she is brusque. I thought this bundt cake should be dedicated to the wildness in Gretel as much as the counterpoint to her, in the malignant elegance of Holda, the older witch. So here’s to witches 🥂🍾

For Gretel, for Holda ...

In the woods of mysterious shapes
fluted soul confections exist
secreted into the dark matter
of a concentric existence,
baked like Bundt,
a universe within the world.

They stole the yolks to submerge
them in a bog of greasy labour,
the dust flour spirits of millennia
spool seasons in wild imaginings,
etch tablets, lay feasts for kings
and the lost offspring of man.

Here in the shape of sweet confections
they taste milk, vanilla, sweet berries.
She strode over thistle, a bramble bush
of experience, those yawning graves
and moaning plagues, pandemics,
until in the vortex, beaten in batter.

The saccharine curse of a gingerbread
ruse, beckoning like a copse of corpses.
When the fingertips are a tint of necrosis,
tales of sweet temptations spirit through
the peaty entrails of pillaged villages
torn asunder through billowing desire for

fluted castles, solid, sweet, aromatic
in the changeable woods and the wild
was therefore always a witch,
conjuring cake houses for mankind,
in layered feasts that adorn the table
and entice the palate,
to be desired, to be abhorred,
to be loved, to be scorned.
Here's the recipe:

1 cup butter (252 g), softened
2 1/2 cups fine white sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream, room temperature, beaten with 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease with butter and flour a 10 inch Bundt mould. Set the oven to 325°

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy for over 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture, alternate with the mixture of sour cream and vanilla. Beat on low until blended. Pour into the pan, level the mixture with a fork and bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Remember to cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely, or the cake may stick to the pan. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar if desired.

[1] Adapted from the perfect recipe:

Sour Cream Pound Cake ~https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sour-cream-pound-cake/

According to Wikipedia which defines them quite well :


A pound cake is a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt mould. They are sometimes served either dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or with a coat of icing”. 


A Bundt cake is a cake that is baked in a Bundt pan, shaping it into a distinctive doughnut shape. The shape is inspired by a traditional European cake known as Gugelhupf, but Bundt cakes are not generally associated with any single recipe”. 

The breath of life

Dagogo Hart spoke of Paper Planes in a moving poem, about how our breath keeps planes in the sky, how poets are daydreamers, aspiring for birds but settling for butterflies. His friend is a tree, she is deeply rooted into the Earth …
This inspired me to write a poem on breath. Poems like air, are free and free to envelop the earth.

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I breathe in life like a poem and exhale in a poem too.
The air is free and there is no price high enough for poetry,
no place far enough to reach and no heart, hard enough to caress.
It’s the inhale and the exhale that remind me of the rhythm of the Earth,
the fragrance of flowers versed in colour, the wind raising water
in the meter of waves, clouds holding the sky in rhyme, I breathe in the mud,
the dust, those that graze or slither or pounce that punctuate the land and water.
I inhale the poetry of the people, the billions of them, children crying like winds tunnels,
the homeless smell forgotten, the hungry reek of food thrown in the dumpster
outside the big stores, the brave treading their passions smell like fire, cowards hiding
in the shadows of mistrust and fear are the stench of hateful hearts, the giving are the
aroma of mother baking bread, a father teaching his daughter to ride a bicycle, a stranger
offering you their seat. The most beautiful is the inhalation of love, which like the breath is free.

The earth is weighed by this priceless feeling that cannot be vaulted in a safe
nor can it be sold for a crown, like the cover of air, that I breathe in and out every day,
unfailingly, like my life depended on it. Almost 8 billion other souls tend to agree
as they float on air or on love and they may not understand the difference
until the lungs fill with water or the heart splinters like broken glass.

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Every day is one filled with gratitude for the simplest pleasures of life. One is not short of breath until facing a respiratory illness of some sort, COVID has been a lesson in this. Yet, we think very little of polluting the atmosphere or soiling our planet. Perhaps it is because like the air, we don’t respect our capacity to love one another and like the air, love too is not felt except in it’s parsimony or in it’s absence. Humans need a great deal more humanity than the petty survival games we play, that again mean very little, until something that we take for granted, goes missing.

The present, like the faded memories of footsteps, belongs to no one

Shoes on my feet and the road can feel me/
this connection to the inorganic/
the patter of muffled thuds resonate
to core/where water runs in subterranean rivulets/
coursing with the memory of faded footsteps/
The roots should know too that I walked past/
and whisper to the entwined masses beneath/
of narratives of a walk in Eden/ charting territory
that others have stamped their claim to/
Do the spiders know or the groundhogs/
that paper bequeaths ownership/
Do the roots inveigle their way through pebbles
and mud/ staking rights to every inch of space/
My feet cannot reach these places/ and yet
exult in the measure of messages/ to them all,
those within which/ simmer perceptions
of halcyon control/ possessing in permanence simply/
a faded memory of footsteps/
Who can contain the present thus/
It belongs to no one and to everyone/
No paper nor stone nor beast/ nor man
can stamp it’s claim to it.

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This month has been debilitating for those struggling with political theatre, the virus saga, the confusion of norm and reality, the hangover from 2020 and changes in the way we live.

I try to encapsulate this in a poem about a walk, drawing an analogy of how human perception distorts life, time, the material into suiting its own desire for control and possession.

I learn that stability is in the walk, the trailing of footsteps, the coursing of a river, the growth of roots. The present is filled with such. All else is perception.

I would argue against defining it as impermanence, that sounds so pessimistic and grants heaviness to the heart.

A coursing river should not make you unhappy just as the pulsing heart makes you live. Footsteps take you someplace and that’s the beauty to the present.

Look to adventure, every moment every second bleeds forth an opportunity for difference, in change.