by Peter Wyton
I kept four geese on the undulating turf
In full view of the kitchen window, fed them
On ground oats, barley meal and chopped boiled eggs,
Named them after Beatrix Potter characters,
Watched them develop a Home Guard mentality.
Nobody came visiting, human or animal,
Without their intentions being interrogated
By Privates Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail,
Marshalled and led on every offensive sortie
By my Mainwaring substitute, Captain Tabitha.
Tabitha wedded the flair of Napoleon Bonaparte
To the dourness of Stonewall Jackson. She outmanoeuvred
Vagabonds, meter readers, Jehovah's Witnesses.
Utterly scorning the democratic process,
She saw off parliamentary candidates wholesale.
Today, it's Michaelmas. In the traditional spirit
Of paying rent on quarter-days, choosing magistrates,
I'm eating Tabitha with sauerkraut, chestnuts,
Rum-soaked apples. Carving a portion of breast,
I stare out over the garden, contemplate Christmas.
©2003 Peter Wyton
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