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Patrick Stevens

Former mathematics student at the University of Cambridge; now a software engineer.

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Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
I required a snack to feed me. Reaching in the kitchen drawer -
With the scissors, cut the wrapping, I revealed a jar of tapen-
Ade of olives. Gently snapping, snapping off the lid, I saw:
Lines of mouldy olive scored the tapenade. The lid I saw
Speckled with each mocking spore.

How the pangs of hunger rumbled while I cursed the jar I’d fumbled;
Indistinct, I faintly mumbled, “May this torture last no more!”
Suddenly I saw the bread bin; eagerly towards it edging,
Bravely to my stomach pledging, pledging food would be in store.
Opening that sacred vessel, only crumbs were left in store.
Savagely the bag I tore.

Now my thoughts turned to basmati; I would make a dish quite hearty,
And my shattered brain was party to such plans of starch galore.
Trembling I imagined sauces rich in spice and such resources,
Gripped by these enchanting forces, opened I the cupboard door.
Slavering, excitement mounting, opened I the cupboard door;
Rice stocks were exceeding poor.

How my stomach needed filling. Dreams of pancakes gently grilling
Served to give me eager willingness to find a bag of flour.1 Happily it was not lacking. Took the eggs out from their packing,
Fetched a bowl, and in it cracking, cracking eggs so batter’d pour.
Tipped the milk (blue top, full-fat) in, mixing up so batter’d pour.
Sugar I could not ignore.

Took out oil, and put the gas on. Measured out a goodly ration,
Ladled it in practised fashion, spread it thin, my movements sure.
Round the edges batter bubbled, far too quiet. The heat I doubled;
Soon I’d be no longer troubled: hunger’d bother me no more.
Oh, to be no longer troubled, hunger both’ring me no more.
Crêpes: a food which I adore.

Tested I the pancake, dipping fish-slice in to start its flipping;
Grabbed the pan, towards me tipping. “Now be cooked!” I did implore.
In my eagerness to turn it (lest I tarry and I burn it)
With such horror I discern it: I had dropped it to the floor.
Ah, with terror I discern that I had dropped it to the floor.
Quoth the pancake: “Nevermore.”

  1. Pronounced “floor”.