Winter 2003 Poetry Competition First Prize

Eating Tabatha

by Peter Wyton

Email: peterwyton@hotmail.com

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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