August 10, 2007

Poetry Friday: Not for vegetarians

A little oddity I ran across in the library's copy of A New Treasury of Children's Poetry: Old Favorites and New Discoveries, selected and introduced by Joanna Cole. It rather reminds of Alfred Noyes's poem, Daddy Fell into the Pond,

When Father Carves the Duck
by E.V. Wright (1872-1939)

We all look on with anxious eyes
When Father carves the duck,
And Mother almost always sighs
When Father carves the duck;
Then all of us prepare to rise,
And hold our bibs before our eyes,
And be prepared for some surprise,
When Father carves the duck.

He braces up and grabs a fork
Whene'er he carves a duck,
And won't allow a soul to talk
Until he's carved the duck.
The fork is jabbed into the sides,
Across the breast the knife he slides,
While every careful person hides
From flying chips of duck.

The platter's always sure to slip
When Father carves a duck,
And how it makes the dishes skip!
Potatoes fly amuck!
The squash and cabbage leap in space,
We get some gravy in our face,
And Father mutters Hindoo grace
Whene'er he carves a duck.

We then have learned to walk around
The dining room and pluck
From off the window sills and walls
Our share of Father's duck,
While Father growls and blows and jaws
And swears the knife was full of flaws,
And Mother laughs at him because
He couldn't carve a duck.

* * *

Ernest Vincent Wright Wotton (1872–1939) was an American writer. The poem was, perhaps originally, a song, with music by J.B. Herbert, published in 1891 when Wright was 19. He also wrote the books The Wonderful Fairies of the Sun (1896), The Fairies That Run the World and How They Do It (1903), and Thoughts and Reveries of an American Bluejacket (1918).

But his most famous work is the lipogram Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words, not one of which, with the exception of the introduction and a note at the end, included the letter e. Sadly, Wright died at the age of 66 on the day of Gadsby's publication.

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Kelly at Big A little a. Thanks, Kelly!

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