Tonight guests are coming for dinner. I probably should be working, but my final November verse must be finished. I was intending to write about tiramisu and salmon with miso, but the verse got the bit between its teeth.
November verse 14: Guests for dinner
Once when people came to dinner
Dad's job was to kill a chook
or two, pluck them, remove inner
bits, then give to Mum, the cook.
We kids would watch with fascination:
first the neat decapitation,
the bloody, headless honour lap
with throat that clucks and wings that flap,
and then the steaming pile of feathers,
puckered pores in naked skin,
a cold-eyed head thrown in the bin.
Tonight as dinner comes together,
I can't help feel a kind of shame
that nothing in it had a name.
Your Dad did it! My step-father delighted in making my brother and I use the axe on our chickens (our pullets) raised to Christmas or Easter weight! To teach us that where our meals came from – we ought also engage in the blood-letting – just to teach us another of the lessons he thought we ought to know! The time we were eight and nine in the late 1950s – when he made us return our Gould League of Bird-lovers cards – because – naïvely – being bird-lovers – we had raided the nests of welcome swallows and removed some eggs out of their mud nests beneath the local culvert. He loved teaching us lessons. Our step-father! He did it, too. Differently from your Dad!