When Father Carves the Turkey

Norman Rockwell

I’m not sure whether or not this is a Thanksgiving poem given that it involves a roasted duck, not a roasted turkey. Nevertheless, it’s a very funny poem, written in 1891, which pokes fun at the family patriarch as he tries to maintain his dignity. Note the subtle way the wife completes his emasculation in the final stanza. If she must be a subordinate, at least she can find some revenge through comedy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

When Father Carves the Duck

By E. V. Wright

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 a 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.

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