daffodils for breakfast


Daffodils in a pretty vase, a piping-hot cup of coffee, brown-shelled soft-boiled eggs, and buttered toast soldiers made from the best home-made bread stuffed full of seeds and nuts… Were I from a different generation, I would have had to stop to take a photo of breakfast this morning.

But that word picture only shows you what I want you to see.

If I had wanted to take a photograph, I would have had to move the piles of paperwork and junk mail, the tube of handcream and the battered toaster that live on the permanently crumb-strewn kitchen table, as well as finding an egg-cup that toned rather more acceptably with the poppy-splattered mug, and perhaps even a place mat and napkin rather than a ragged square torn from the roll of paper towels.

It would also have meant letting the coffee get cold and the eggs cook a few moments too long in their shells and be just too solid for proper dipping.

So instead, here are the daffodils, and a very old poem that recognises how important it is that eggs are served as they should be.


On the egg-eating habits of the heir to the throne

”[A]ides to Prince Charles have denied a report that the heir to the throne’s staff have to cook him seven boiled eggs to allow him to choose one with the perfect consistency.” 
- Reuters, September 2006

In his life, he wears many different hats.

But we do not know how he likes his eggs.

We have seen him in a topi; in a blue bobble hat, silhouetted

against snow. We have seen him in his regimental glory,

and parading in a bearskin in the sun. In soft black velvet

with an ostrich plume he looks quite cavalier. Down Under

he donned a white lobster-packer’s hat not unlike

the one his wife wore when she visited the pork pie factory.

But we do not know how he likes his eggs.

We have seen him wear a flat cap, and a coronet, though not,

I think, a crown. At the Spanish wedding he kept his cool

under an umbrella while other foreign dignitaries

required assistance. We do not, however,

know how he likes his eggs.

Does he, perhaps, stir in stiff aromatic leaves of rosemary?

Pine-like needles pungent in the bright yolk? Does he prefer

organic tarragon, gathered – with the morning dew still on it -

and flown fresh from the farthest reaches of his Cotswold estates?

It may be the torn leaves of basil that he craves, the plants brought

in ritual procession, borne aloft in terracotta pots by village maids.

We do not know. We know he talks to trees and now we know

he tells his troubles to the hens.

But we do not know how he likes his eggs.

Does he broach them from the big end, command the broad curve

be shattered with a specially-selected stainless spoon? Or is it

the narrow end that must be snipped, cigar-like, with the Sheffield egg-cutter?

Does he prefer the white gelatinous? Or set solid like dried Copydex? 

Does he, perhaps, have a particular hat he wears for eating eggs?

These things we do not know.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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