Poem of the Week 15

The Remarkable Cake

Margaret Mahy


It’s Christmas – the time when we gather to make

A truly remarkable once-a-year cake.

The recipe’s written in letters of gold

By a family witch who is terribly old.


The rule of this cake is it has to be made

In a wheelbarrow (stirred with a shovel or spade)

At Christmas, the season of love and good will.

Other times of the year it might make you feel ill.


You must nail it together or stick it with glue,

Then hammer it flat with the heel of your shoe.

You must stretch it out thin, you must tie it in knots,

Then get out your paint box and paint it with spots.


What a taste! What a flavour! It’s certain to please.

It’s rather like ice-cream with pickles and cheese.

In June it would taste like spaghetti and mud,

While its taste in September would curdle your blood.


Oh, what a cake! It looks simply delicious.

Now get out the carving knife, get out the dishes!

Be careful! Be careful! This cake might explode,

And blow up the kitchen and part of the road.


Oh dear! It’s exploded! I thought that it might.

It’s not very often we get it just right.

Let’s comfort the baby, revive Uncle Dan,

And we’ll start it all over as soon as we can.


For Christmas – that gipsy day – comes and it goes

Far sooner than ever we dare to suppose.

Once more in December we’ll gather to make

That truly remarkable once-a-year cake.