Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mummy Slept Late and Daddy Fixed Breakfast

~John Ciardi (1916-1986)

Daddy fixed the breakfast.
He made us each a waffle.
It looked like gravel pudding.
It tasted something awful.

“Ha, ha,” he said, “I’ll try again.
This time I’ll get it right.”
But what I got was in between
Bituminous and anthracite.

“A little too well done? Oh well,
I’ll have to start all over.”
That time what landed on my plate
Looked like a manhole cover.

I tried to cut it with a fork:
The fork gave off a spark.
I tried a knife and twisted it
Into a question mark.

I tried it with a hack-saw.
I tried it with a torch.
It didn’t even make a dent.
It didn’t even scorch.

The next time Dad gets breakfast
When Mommy’s sleeping late,
I think I’ll skip the waffles,
I’d sooner eat the plate!

I love this poem and woke up this morning thinking about it—but not because I woke up late and Daddy made awful waffles. Years ago we belonged to a church that had a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper cooked by the men, and we’ve carried that tradition into our family, so tonight Mike’ll make pancakes and eggs and sausages for us and they’ll be delicious because he’s a good cook.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Some time during the day I’ll take down the last of the Christmas lights in the house, which I keep up through the winter to brighten the short, dreary days, then in the evening we’ll go to our church’s service for the imposition of ashes. What Lenten traditions does your family keep?

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