The turkey that we blithely ate
Had little cause to celebrate
The final Thursday in November.
It’s customary to dismember
A hapless bird that’s plucked and trussed
To satisfy our boundless lust
For juicy chunks of roasted meat.
The friends and relatives we seat
Are thankful for the now deceased
Large fowl on which we get to feast.

Reduced to clean-picked neck bones, ribs and shanks,
Poor Tom is in no mood for giving thanks.

 

 

C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.


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30 Responses

  1. Sally

    Dear CB —
    Very nice ! About all we have left is the light touch.Now, having written, you must sanatize, not fantasize. I can only hope that this poem was written while you were seated at least six feet apart from someone else — otherwise you may be subject to a large fine.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Sally, a fine is fine. I will continue to dine AS I please and with WHOM I please. All the totalitarian state governors and city mayors have my permission to go back to Hell.

      Reply
  2. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    To my mind, the measure of a good poem is that it reaches out to the reader with its message. Yours is so darn good, there’ll be extra turkey on Mike’s plate this Thanksgiving… poor Tom!

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      So I guess that makes Mike partly to blame for Tom’s condition. I sincerely hope that this poem has offended a few knuckle-headed vegans or “animal rights” activists. I especially like thigh meat, but those two little oblong muscles on the back of the bird called the oysters are the absolute best.

      Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Kip, I like the use of a pentameter couplet to wind up those perfect tetrameters. The whole thing is knitted together tightly.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Yes, Joseph. As you know well, the formal arsenal at our disposal is well stocked with convenient devices. Sometimes a person needs an extra foot to complete an idea.

      Reply
  4. Norma Okun

    The message of the poem is not true because it would not be a Thanksgiving Day for so many years if it was just to celebrate the death of the turkey. That is fine to try to fit in sober stanzas trying to make musical notes out of a dead turkey celebration as there is not a day any day to celebrate.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Your comment was unclear in some respects. The first sentence was fairly direct and lucid. But it is not, and has never been, my job to express perfect absolute truth. The meaning of the second sentence eludes me. Would you like to clarify? I’m pretty sure that I have never made musical notes out of a dead turkey, but I would like to know how this is done.

      Reply
  5. Yael

    Oh what a fowl poem, I love it.
    Very nicely written and so true, from the bird’s perspective.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      I fear that the bird in question has lost its perspective along with everything else. This poem was written for the purpose of amusement, and for nothing else

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        C.B., I hope you can assure me and other squeamish readers that no turkeys were harmed during the composition of this fine poem and that “Tom” was a fictitious wonder of the poet’s imagination.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Kip, the problem is that too many people here still live with the delusion that poems are about their “messages,” and if they don’t like the message, they can’t appreciate the poem.

        Your poem was, of course, meant for amusement, and nothing else. But amateur poets simply can’t fathom something like that.

    • C.B. Anderson

      I, too, Christopher, have participated in the slaughter of animals destined to become food. Such experience will soon separate the true meat-eaters from the nominal omnivores. If one cannot imagine killing an animal, then what exactly IS it that diners imagine when they eat the flesh of animals killed by someone else?

      Reply
      • Christopher Lindsay

        I grew up on a pig farm. If pork was on the kitchen table, it came from our barn.

        I loved your poem so much I sent it to my friend who is a vegetarian .

  6. C.B. Anderson

    I have few assurances for you, Susan, but I CAN assure you that some turkeys were at risk. Tom is not fictitious — he is merely generic.

    Reply
  7. Amrita valan

    So humerous. And I can make out that you empathize with poor Tom despite not being a vegan. A very realistic look routine excessive of meat eating while in celebratory mode without being judgemental. I had say hurrah to meat eaters in moderation. Otherwise Tom’s tribe will be decimated. I’m sure Tom takes a little pride in his spiritual afterlife for having fulfilled his function as a table bird.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      I, Amitra, am in no position to know what attitude Tom might assume in the afterlife. As for moderation, my policy is: Moderation in all things, especially when it comes to moderation.

      Reply
  8. David Paul Behrens

    Almost all, if not all life, feeds off of other life, which is why I don’t buy vegetarianism on a philosophical level. I feel no guilt whatsoever while consuming a turkey.

    I enjoyed your humorous poem.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      And you shouldn’t feel guilt, David Paul. Plants are living things too. Should not a vegetarian then feel guilty for eating grains and vegetables. Extending the train of thought, perhaps we should all eat nothing but ground-up minerals. Bon appetite!

      Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Yes, David Paul, cannibalism is a good place to draw a line, but, as you note, it depends on the circumstances. I’m not quite ready to share recipes, but if push comes to shove I might suggest some pungent curry sauce or a strong dose of chili.

      Reply
  9. David Watt

    C.B., I enjoy your brand of wry humor. Today we purchased a plump frozen turkey for Christmas. We look forward to savoring our ‘juicy chunks’ in the near future.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      If you really want the meat to be juicy, then I recommend brining the bird before roasting. Directions for this abound on the Internet.

      Reply

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