by Tom Williams, who was an Irish baker, as was his family, all bakers, going back as far as 1894
St. Nicholas: Patron Saint of Bakers, Dandoy Biscuiterie, Brussels, Belgium Photo: Michael Craske, used by permission
For whom do you harvest?
For whom do you mill?
Who takes the grist the sun has kissed? —and then
With a smile from the miller's daughter,
And yeast and salt and water,
Who plies the oldest craft that's known to men?
Who sleeps when day is light?
Who labours through the night?
Who moulds and folds and bakes the crusty rolls?
Like the Man from Galilee,
Making loaves for you and me,
And in his hands the staff of life he holds.
The stalks of wheat have ripened
In the upland fields,
The farmer with his sharpened scythe is there,
And turns the golden grain to grist
With millstone smooth and muscled wrist,
The upland field is stubbled now and bare.
But the baker takes the flour,
And with yeast he adds the power
To raise the creamy dough, all pearly white,
May our daily bread creator,
That we know as, just—the baker,
Be protected by St. Nicholas, day and night.