News From the Natural World: Apple Cake


Heidi Mordhorst is hosting the first roundup of National Poetry Month at My Juicy Little Universe. Be sure to visit her there. It’s also time for another Sunday Night Swagger challenge. Here is Heidi’s description:

Linda Mitchell of A Word Edgewise has challenged the Sunday Swaggers to participate in the #ShelterInPoems project, which asks us to “share a poem that helps to find courage, solace and actionable energy, and a few words about how or why it does so.”

After spending time browsing through, I chose “The Wings of Daylight,” by W.S. Merwin. In lines like “what we see that one time departs untouched,” Merwin reminds us of the ephemeral nature of our days. He’s urging us to recognize these fleeting splendors, and appreciate the abundant gifts of our lives, a message made even more important during these tumultuous times. Most importantly, although this poem is filled with shadows, it begins and ends with light, which gives me hope.

The Wings of Daylight
By W.S. Merwin

Brightness appears showing us everything
it reveals the splendors it calls everything
but shows it to each of us alone
and only once and only to look at
not to touch or hold in our shadows

Read the rest of the poem here.

Linda’s original challenge was to write a poem inspired by a hand-written recipe. To keep my News From the Natural World project going, I adapted the first two lines of Merwin’s poem as a jumping off point for a poem responding to Linda’s original challenge.

Apple Cake

Brightness reveals the splendor of everything:

Ripe apples in a bowl, washed and ready to peel
Eggs, oil, vanilla, fine, silky flour
Cinnamon, baking powder, salt

Simple ingredients,
Mixed together since the dawn of time,
Transformed by heat
into treasure.

Alchemy or chemistry?
Who’s to say?
Either way, for a moment
the shadows
are gone.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2020

Other “News From the Natural World” poems:

April 2: Specimen
April 1: Forest Snail

36 thoughts on “News From the Natural World: Apple Cake

  1. That picture says it all, with the well-used recipe. “Mixed together since the dawn of time” shows how we pass these traditions on and on. And great ending, “for a moment shadows are gone.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a perfect response to the prompt…the beauty of M.S. Merwin’s poem to the apples, waiting ingredients and the alchemy (oh, yes…apple pie is gold) of baking a pie. This just lovely in every word and bite.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve gone from banana bread to apple cake. “Mixed together since the dawn of time'” reminds me of so many recipes I have from my husband’s grandmother that have become treasures for me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, having the process as we patiently move through the senses, the peeling & stirring, the smells, and the bites! Moving the shadows away makes me smile & then a little sad that it is needed. Lovely sentiment, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Look at you! a) How is it that we didn’t discuss our projects last week?! b) What a masterful weaving, a writing-to-the-core: you made the recipe prompt work with the #ShelterInPoems prompt, and you made the apple cake work with Merwin’s brightness, splendor and shadows. Adore this to the core!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve baked up a fabulous post, Catherine. I’m so impressed that you’ve created your own project for this month and that you so deftly wove it and the Sheltering in Poems prompt together. I love that hopeful ending note. Beautiful (and now I’m craving apple cake…)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Merwin’s poem is a beautiful one to take shelter in, Catherine. I love how it’s inspired your own poem with a taste of home.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s true! Sometimes something delicious to eat can dismiss the shadows for a bit! Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

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