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Pain à la Duchesse by Peter J Donnelly

Pain à la Duchesse

First tasted in a tent in a field

in Brittany or the Vendee,

back home they wouldn’t

have been as good,

like crepes or baguettes, even if

they’d been filled with chocolate

or coffee-flavoured custard,

not whipped cream, which

in those days I detested.

Perhaps I was relieved

when I was offered one

at a school friend's house, and got

given a tiny piece of toffee

in a gold and purple wrapper.

Not like the time I bit into one

in a Baptist minister’s back garden.

By then I’d warmed to cream,

but not to sugar butter icing

which his wife had used

as filling. The shock was

like a flash of lightning

which I had no idea

in French was called eclair.

Peter J Donnelly lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter. He has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Atrium, Black Nore Review, Obsessed with Pipework, One Hand Clapping, High Window, Ink Sweat and Tears and Fragmented Voices. He came second in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition in 2021 and the Buzzwords open poetry competition in 2020. His first full length collection 'Solving the Puzzle' has recently been published by Alien Buddha Press, as has his chapbook 'The Second of August'.


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