peck peck, peep peep, yum yum: here’s elaine magliaro!

#2 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.

photo by njchow82.

Happy Easter Monday!

A lovely wild rose is our very first Poetry Potluck guest: Elaine Magliaro!

She sent me several poems and said I could take my pick. Though I liked them all, there was one I found so adorable I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. It’s perfect for this time of year, and perfect as a “first poem” for the Potluck.

An egg holds so much promise, and poets are always hatching new ideas. They harbor such intense emotion and sensitivity in their shells. When the time is right, their hearts open and a poem breaks through. Elaine’s wee chick made me think of the beginnings of a poem — the wonder, inquisitiveness, and discovery. I love her endearing narrator, so charming and child-like. This poem comes from an unpublished collection of mask poems, tentatively titled, Animal Talk.

photo by lilfishstudios.


I’m pecking, pecking
On this dome.
I’m cramped inside
My little home.
Can’t spread my wings,
Can’t run . . . or walk.
Can’t see the sun.
Can barely talk!
Oh, I’ve been pecking
Since last night.
This shell is really . . .
Really tight!
I just can’t stand it
Oh where? Oh, where
is my front door?!

© 2010 Elaine Magliaro. All rights reserved.

photo by Heart felt.

Don’t you love it? Now, there’s another reason I picked Elaine as the first Potluck Poet. She brought cake! Everyone knows you can’t have a proper celebration without cake, and it’s also in keeping with one of my hardcore beliefs: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”

Now, this isn’t just any cake. It’s Elaine’s famous Almond Gateau — something she only bakes for special occasions (she made one for Easter yesterday)! She likes to frost it with whipped cream and decorate it with fresh raspberries and mint leaves. It’s quite beautiful and a divine way to celebrate Poetry Month. Thanks for sharing your special recipe, Elaine, and for the sweet poem!

Almond Cake with Raspberry Sauce

  © 2010 Elaine Magliaro


8 inch cake pan, buttered—the bottom lined with wax paper


·       Stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

·       7-ounce package of almond paste (sold in cellophane tubes)—broken into small pieces

·       1/2 cup of sugar

·       3 eggs

·       4 tablespoons of flour

·       1/3 teaspoon baking powder

·       1 tablespoon Kirsch

·       1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter. Gradually beat in the sugar. Then gradually add the almond paste. Whisk in the eggs, one by one. Gently fold in the flour, followed by the remaining ingredients. Spoon batter into the cake pan, mounding the batter slightly toward the edges, as the cake will rise more in the center than the sides. Bake the almond cake for 45 minutes to one hour—or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a cake rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto the cake rack and remove from pan.



·       8 ounces of fresh raspberries, or a package frozen raspberries (preferably Wyman’s), defrosted

·       1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar—or to taste

·       juice of 1/2 lemon—or to taste


Puree the raspberries by pressing through a fine sieve or strainer. Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk to blend and remove any lumps of sugar.


Frost the cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Then pipe little rosettes of whipped cream on top. Decorate with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.


Pour a small pool of raspberry sauce on a dessert plate. Turn plate to spread sauce in a circle. Serve a slice of cake on top of the raspberry sauce.


Elaine Magliaro is a retired teacher and poet who blogs at Wild Rose Reader, Political Verses, and Blue Rose Girls. Her poems have appeared in Yareah Magazine and in the recent anthologies, Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems (Roaring Brook Press, 2009), and, My Cat is in Love with the Goldfish and Other Loopy Love Poems (A&C Black, 2010). Click here to read a great post about her lifelong passion for poetry and how being a writer made her a better teacher. I once dreamed Elaine was my muse, dancing around the garden in a white, diaphanous gown. She continues to inspire me on a daily basis.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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