The Sunday Poem: Elaine Schwartz... Auntie Margaret's Hungarian Pastry

Lies are just as entertaining as Truth. Just ask cable TV. Yet there are those moments when you can not only see what is true, you can smell it...taste it. Just ask Elaine Schwartz.

This wonderful piece awakens the hunger for truth in all of us.

Auntie Margaret’s Hungarian Pastry

If it weren’t true would Auntie Margaret’s blurry blue tattoo come into view as she lights the Sabbath candles, welcomes the Sabbath bride?

Would her buttery Hungarian pastry melt in our mouths like manna
from heaven?

If it weren’t true would she still remember the recipe – a few handfuls of flour, a large lump or two of butter, a bit of sugar, and a pinch
of freshly ground cinnamon?

Would her work worn hands knead and knead, stretch and stretch
this rich buttery dough?

If it weren’t true would she walk to the synagogue every Friday night, a pastry laden plate in her hands?

Would her Auschwitz blue tattoo be expunged by a clean orderly home,
a pot of aromatic coffee, and a plate of rich flaky Hungarian pastry?

--Elaine Schwartz

Submissions to The Sunday Poem are welcome. Email

Views: 66

Comment by Margaret Randall on October 18, 2009 at 8:33am
Elaine, I believe the line our society draws between truth and lies is often erroneous, misleading. Who decides, after all, what truth is? For those in charge, truth is always what makes us more dependent, more servile, trades our best interests for their profit and control. Memory erasure is one of the crimes of these times. Is it the tattoo on Auntie Margaret's arm that makes her story true? This is a wonderful poem: full, rich and evocative. Thank you so much for starting my Sunday this way!
Comment by Merimee Moffitt on October 19, 2009 at 8:27am
Elaine this wonderful poem gives me shivers adn shivers--like years and years of history and loving women providing for family and the cruel world we all live in. Thank you. Also, congrats on being the DCF's first repeat poet? xoxox Hope to see/hear you at Fixed N Free Oct 28, WEd The Source
Comment by Barelas Babe on September 9, 2010 at 10:32pm
I don't know how I missed this poem, but this is so powerful I had to take a few centering breaths after I read it. I love the way you use the imagery of domestic tasks to challenge the naysayers and revisionist historians. Just remarkable.


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