The turkey is a curious bird
And there’s a tale quite often heard
Of how this hapless, weak birdbrain
Looks up, agape, and drowns in rain.
But that is really just a myth
To entertain the gullible with.

In fact his monofocal eye
Must look sideways at the sky
Not up…and he might just as easily drown
In puddles, failing to look down.
Poor thing can’t fly, can barely walk,
And gobble-gobble is his talk.

The ostentation of his tail
And puffed-out chest will surely fail
To keep him swaggeringly proud
If there’s a noise, and it is loud.
Then he is spooked, suddenly tense
And runs to cower by the fence.

American fowl of colonial fame
That Benjamin Franklin wanted to name
Federal symbol, national bird—
Turkey? Ridiculous! Turkey? Absurd!
Yet, in a way, it has almost come true–
Not on The Seal, but on the menu.

When Thanksgiving comes, it’s almost a law
Though steak lovers groan and vegans say “pshaw!”
That turkey be served as pre-eminent meat
Above the plenty of plenty to eat.
Crackling, drumstick, breast and wing
This one day a year, turkey is king.

60 responses »

  1. How dare you, a real poet, invade my doggerel arena ?! {grin}
    You are clever; for I think it must be quite difficult for someone like you to write doggerel, Cynthia.

    • I think I told you recently that I didn’t agree with your use of the term “doggerel” to characterize your own poem, so you can imagine what I think of your using that term to characterize this one…..
      Definition of doggerel, the Oxford dictionary: “verse or words that are badly written or expressed; poetry that is irregular in rhythm and rhyme, often for burlesque or comic effect, ……..often used contemptuously.

      My confidence is destroyed….I am cut to the quick…maybe I’ll just quit writing poetry! 🙂

      • You often make me laugh like anything, Cynthia ! 😀
        I have never even looked up the term … but to me it SHOULD mean “poetry the scans and rhymes but is not meant to be taken seriously”.
        How does that sit with you ?

      • Well, I’ve thought and thought–unfortunately the venues I’d like to serve: soup kitchens, shelters–do not allow food to be brought in from private kitchens (health regulations, fear that folks might spice things with thalium, etc–which is tragic for all concerned). And I’m too independent to work within the confines of the agencies. Plus I have transportation issues. So, for now–I have one neighbor I feed frequently, and a couple others less often. If you were only next door….I’d be bringing over stuff for you to sample. This is when I really wish the blog neighborhood wasn’t “cyber”. I’d be in my element, the fat and happy little cook–Caddo.

    • Your comment brings a huge grin because….if that family dinner is in St.Louis, Missouri. (an assumption based on your “About” page) I can say that though I ‘ve never had the pleasure to travel there, my poem has beat me to it…what a wonderful, tear-jerking thing! Thank you!

  2. LOL 🙂 But they always manage to survive American holidays as a species. Now I don’t see dodo’s on the menu (I read it here as meNU lol )

    • Ah yes….the official turkey verses….every Thanksgiving it’s tradition for the U.S. president to officially “pardon” a turkey who is then allowed to live another year…..pardon is probably not the right word, since the turkey ‘s only sin was to be a turkey!

  3. They recommend stuffing the bird but in my experience it was the participants that ended up barely able to move. Wonderful poem Cynthia the turkeys would be honoured if they had a clue.

    Here in France, I have not seen a whole turkey in the shops. If you want it, it comes in filets or you can buy a turkey leg… Of course here Thursday will be just another day and every single day I am grateful to be here. 🙂

    • Some people call it stuffing, and some call it dressing…I always wondered what the difference was…then recently someone told me it depends whether you cook it inside the bird or separately, outside the bird…..totally obvious, but it never was to me…too caught up in words to see the obvious…happy giving-thanks-for-being-among-the-Franks!

  4. This is a fun poem and playful in rhyme! Many of the Turkey’s traits remind me of myself, strangely enough ; ), easily startled and not always very swift. It’s nice that the Turkey is King by the end, but too bad…not alive to enjoy the fame! A timely poem…fun.

  5. Poor old turkeys! Once again Cynthia you have turned a very ordinary subject (apologies to turkeys) into something rather splendiferous 😊. But they are safe with me; Im veggie through and through. 😄

    • Hello Christine….thank you for that splendiferous! There’s a thing I’ve heard of, around here, that non-meat-eaters have on Thanksgiving, called “tofurkey”….I ‘ve never seen any, but I try to imagine tofu gotten up to look like turkey? I think I would stick with the veggies!

      • Yuk! Im no fan of tofu, I hate the stuff! It’s horrible! What we make at Christmas is a Mushroom Timbale. It consists of cashew nuts, onions, tomatoes, eggs, breadcrumbs and of course, mushrooms. All this is made into a loaf shape and roasted, then its presented just the same as turkey would be, nice and crusty on top, decorated with slices of lemon and tomato and surrounded by roast potatoes. Its yummy! And, all the meat eaters want some saying it looks so much nicer than the poor old turkey. 😊

  6. Great fun, Cynthia. However, the turkey you describe is not the turkey Ben Franklin believed should be the federal bird. The wild turkey is another bird altogether. We did not used to see them when we lived in Wisconsin before, but now we see them all the time. When I was young, having not yet moved from Delta Colorado, my birthplace, to Grand Junction, my father always went turkey hunting in preparation for Thanksgiving. However, even though he would always come home with deer, elk, or pheasant meat, he seldom came home with wild turkey. “Those birds are just too smart,” he used to complain. “Even if you are good with a turkey call you can’t bring them close.” “They’re just too good at looking for hunters.” But, the truth is that this verse rollicks along with a joy that is irrepressible. It crackles with energy and puts Thanksgiving in its place while still giving a wink toward its deliciousness.

    • You’re right about those wild turkeys, Thomas. I grew up in western Maine where there was plenty of hunting going on during the late fall and winter ….lots of deer and pheasant but turkey was elusive.
      My adult years were spent in and around the city of Boston, but would you believe, in the year 2001 a group of wild turkeys wandered right by my porch as I sat there, IN BOSTON, on their way for a drink in a nearby pond…they picked up speed when my dog barked at them, and I could only hope they wouldn’t be hit by a car…..maybe the wild ones, at least, are smarter than we give them credit for! 🙂

      • I love your story about wild turkeys in Boston. What an experience. I remember, albeit not as well as I once would have remembered, going out to Twenty-five Mesa with my father in the fall before Thanksgiving and smelling the leaves on the ground and looking and looking for the elusive wild turkey. I can still feel the hint of winter stirring oak leaves where my father hunted into a twirling wisp of a dance. I really like this poem of yours.

  7. I love this poem. You’ve got so many senses of humor and wit and irony that you deploy. This poem reminds me of Ogden Nash at his very best (which ends up being his least famous). Well-done!

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