Baker’s Dozen by Chris Jones

Baker’s Dozen

They met and they married by sunset in May
In time for the Harvest, the barley to lay
And during that summer they kissed in the corn
And she knew to them both that a son would be born

They gathered the grain as his seed in her bloomed
Grinding the flour as bleak winter loomed
Kneading the dough for life giving bread
Founding the village, so everyone said

The first son was born full of rage, spite and wrath
Hating the baker, his wife and their path
He turned on his father who drove him away
Poisoned by hatred from that bitter day

A year passed; a second son graced their fair house
Gentle and kind, as quiet as a mouse
He loved every creature and anything grown
So settled to farming and made it his own

In the wife’s fertile womb, sons three and four grew
A solid build each from their father they drew
Both took up chisels and shaped stone and wood
Tirelessly working till city walls stood

Within a few weeks the fifth son could talk
An expert on money before he could walk
He opened a bank near the centre of town
Found a rich widow and soon settled down

Their next son set sail trading exquisite things
An eloquent seventh would mingle with Kings
The eight was a blacksmith a master of steel
The ninth a physician so eager to heal

As a new century dawned, their family grew
A long and pained labour increased it by two
One taught the city to read and to write
The other took vows and brought them all light

The twelfth son felt no draw to any vocation
Aimless and lost, plagued by frustration
Everyone tried, but he’d listen to none
Till the wife took to task her last wayward son

You’ll tend to us all, she forcefully said
You’ll be there to dig our graves when we’re dead
Under the grass, topped off by a stone
You’ll see us all pass, then you’ll be alone

A spade in his hand he paced plots for them all
Laid flowers and statues within a tall wall
Lifted the turf and carved out the soil
Pits for their rest, at the end of their toil

The birth of their thirteenth proved too much that day
From bleeding and fever the wife passed away
In the midst of the grief came a glorious surprise
For a girl had been born of her mother’s demise

They mourned for a year, then the first son returned
To the door of his father by whom he’d felt spurned
With sword bearing warriors, a hundred or more
For whilst he’d been gone, the first had learnt war

“I am Death come amongst you”, the vengeful son said
“Your City will burn and your streets fill with dead”
But the moment the son unsheathed his great blade
The daughter strode forth; resolute, unafraid

For the thirteenth child’s tongue would be legend indeed
Though only a babe her words made men bleed
She drew forth his guilt at the death of their mother
His space at her deathbed unfilled by another

The savage words struck him, he lowered his arm
And his anger all spent he could no longer harm
Then they welcomed him home with tears of elation
For them he’d now war and forge a new nation

The Baker’s wife’s dozen founded their state
The daughter knew twelve sons would too be her fate
To nurture a Dynasty destined for power
All sculpted by Baker’s hands, crafted from flour


Chris Jones is an accidental poet, obsessed with story and rhyme. He has always written, but has only recently wandered into the wrong types of pubs where he has started to hang around with the right type of poets. He lives in Sheffield.

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