— Christine Richardson
Snow sifted down one late December eve,
folded into mounds like soft custard cream,
lit by the lamp in the patisserie.
Inside, Mémé created a melody—
caramelized almonds, eggs, sugar, cream—
a cake for her young friend, Claude Debussy.
That night his premier: String Quartet in G
minor Opus 10 (No apology
for the unwritten nine. Would there ever be?)
Claude loved the harmony, burnt almonds and cream,
as he loved presenting, immediately,
in the first movement, the motto theme:
lively in one, two and four, gentle in three.
Violins, viola, cello – esprit!
Music layered with originality.
The audience thought it lacked dignity.
Next day, a muted Claude in the patisserie.
A composed Mémé embraced him motherly.
“Mon cher, ils ne vous comprennent pas. C’est la vie.”
Then served him the almond cake and a cup of strong tea.