he’s ascending the path
with the cake in his hands
for somebody’s celebration
the old men who sit on
the bench near the door
engage him in conversation

from my room at the top,
I hear the unmistakable sound
of china hitting the deck.
muted murmers of dismay
follow its rude
retirement from utility.

in one of these flats
somebody waits
for a special treat
that will not arrive
when her friend comes in
with his explanation
she will smile ruefully
she will pity his dismay
more than her own.
“it doesn’t matter,” she’ll say.

the dynamics of the day have shifted a little
changing the shape of the air around
conquering space in wavering ripples
that envelop without a sound
but no-one will say
that what marred the day
was the cake that
fell to the ground

© Jane Paterson Basil


11 thoughts on “Celebration

    1. It made me really sad. I imagined that moment, just before the cake was lost, when the guy tried to stop it from happening, and then how he felt afterwards, wanting to go that little way back in time. When I do something like that, I go through the five stages of grief, albeit in a minor way – and yes, I would be angry with the cake for dying.
      Oh dear, that’s started me laughing. It’s going to be a silly day now.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I guess we channel our emotions into small things from the big things – the big things are too big, too out of our control. If we worry about them , we’ll end up digging ourselves burrows in the graden, taking a stack of books and a year’s supply of chocolate and refusing to come out until the world has had a jolly good think about what it’s done 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  1. That was a really OBSERVANT poem. I could almost feel the cake being the elephant in the room later on. Even when accidents DO happen, you’re right. They do change the tenor of the ripples in our life. I really, really like this. It was so simple and so real because it IS likely something a person would never say ruined their day — just trying to be polite and make it ok for the other person. I’m kind of fascinated with this, in truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thrilled – though not surprised – that you get it on a deep level.
      It’s not just the people who were closely involved, either. It’s an demonstates the butterfly theory. There are thirty-nine flats in this building. I don’t know how many other tenants noticed the little drama. I was affected enough by it to write a poem. You and several others have read my poem, and it has affected the thooughts you have, to some extent. I love how inter-related everything is.
      This poem wasn’t just a few throw-away lines, and you saw that. I feel kinda proud.


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