Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday's Poetry: "Turkey Fallen Dead from Tree"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

I got into the poultry business this past Arpil with a fairly big purchase of four turkey chicks and nearly thirty baby chickens.  Late in May I added twenty baby guineas to the menagerie.  Early in the summer I freed the entire mess to work the yard looking for insects during the day, and would lock them up in the evenings.  Surprisingly, there were no disappearances or fatalities – until a few weeks ago. 

Some of the guineas, who have the ability to fly high and always make a racket when their world gets rocked, even by something insignificant, began missing evening roll call, and then one morning I found a dead one – with its head missing.  An old timer told me that was death by owl. 

The next fatality was one of my three beautiful turkey hens.  I found her in the poultry pen with her chest ripped open.  A couple of weeks later a second turkey hen met the same fate.  The left the one remaining hen and the lone Tom.   The final hen will killed in the same manner this past weekend while I was in Kansas City – and last night witnessed the demise of the Tom.   Now all of my beautiful turkeys are gone – and my twenty guineas are down to six – and the chickens number somewhere around sixteen.

I went outside last night right at dark and found the Tom turkey sadly following the guineas around looking for a safe place to roost.  I got him into the pen, but the guineas, who usually sleep in the pen, headed off in another direction.  The turkey pitched such a fit wanting to be back with his friends, that I finally let him go – knowing that was our farewell.

I suspect that I have been feeding a variety of predators.   They apparently all sat back for several weeks making sure that the farmer was harmless, hapless, and helpless - and then came to dinner.  I am very sad about the loss of my birds, particularly the big turkeys with their funny personalities, but such is life – and death.   

The snows are coming, and by the time they arrive I will probably have no reasons left to trek out in the winter weather to do chores.    I will spend the cold months sitting by the fire and blogging – and eating store-bought eggs.    I will be a year older than when I moved here – and much wiser.

(The eight peacocks are fine, by the way, but that is because they are one-hundred percent confined in a coop that they are quickly outgrowing.  At some point in the near future I will have to release them as well.  Fly high, guys.  Fly high!)

Below is a poem about a turkey dying in winter – and shitty days - and life in general.  It speaks to me. Perhaps it will speak to you as well.

Turkey Fallen Dead from Tree
By Dore Kiesselbach

Startled from snow-day slumber by a neighbor’s mutt,
it banged its buzzard’s head then couldn’t solve
the problem of the white pine’s limbs
with wings nearly too broad for a planned descent.
Somewhere an awkward angel knows
whether it was dead before it hit the ground.
Any sinner could tell it was dead after –
eyes unseen beneath bare and wrinkled lids,
feet drawn up  almost as high as hands.
I loved to watch thistle and millet
disappear beneath it in the yard.
As snow covers feathers that will still be
iridescent in the spring I remember seeing
a businessman take a dripping handful
of pocket change and throw it down
a subway grate beside a homeless man.
The coins bounced and clattered, vanishing
in the humid dark.  The rich man said
now you’re having a shitty day too.
But it’s not a shitty day and won’t be
when I retrieve the bird and walk it –
toes curling stiff from a shopping bag –
to a houseless scrap of oak savannah
birdseed drew it from and dig it
into deeper snow so what was hoarded
by a man by the thaw be doled.

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