John Staveley


The Pastry Maker


The pastry maker’s hands are strong.
Because he understands his art

He knows his strength cannot dictate
The shape the rising choux will take.

He understands the way things feel,
The texture of the perfect pie,

The balancing of flour and fat
Is done by touch as much as eye.

He does not understand the way
That hand communicates with brain.

The superficial palmar nerve
Holds no interest. It is plain

It is not what he needs to know:
To make the pastry hold its shape;

To give it lightness on the tongue;
To give each bite the perfect taste.

He knows: how flour and salt combine;
How egg and milk and herb conspire.

With subtle spacing of the shelves
He knows the secret power of fire.

He understands how every part
Must be cooked, and for how long.

Because he understands his art
The pastry maker’s hands are strong.

Submitted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Edited: Monday, August 26, 2013
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