Four days to Christmas, eyes aglow
by Herbert Nehrlich
yet I remember some years back.
We owned a duck, as white as snow
he had a lengthy, ropy neck.
Was called the chiropractic bird
and had respect due to his shape.
That Christmas he had overheard
that at his neck's extended nape
we'd planned to make a clean-through cut
for turkeys were not our taste
he saw himself in our pot
a-roasting slowly, catching baste.
Two days before the guillotine
when splitting wood for winter heating
he waddled by in glossy sheen
his feathered suit for formal meetings
and all the children said how mean
to eat this little friend for dinner
that we were lying, also cheating
he who pretends must be a sinner.
So guiltily we played his game
he'd fetch the morsels of white bread
but wholegrain wasn't quite the same
and by tomorrow he'd be dead.
His eyes did have a certain sadness
my daughter cried and hers did too,
so I decided that this madness
would have to stop and I would do
a quick trip down to butcher Pappy
to see about a different species.
That made the kids so very happy
I turned and stepped in green duck faeces.
So, start the Jeep and in reverse
the stores are'nt waiting just for me,
when loudly, plaintively, a curse
comes to my ears, oh goodness me!
Yes the impossible came true,
the long-necked duck had tried to hide,
or maybe aimed to hitch a ride
the wheel had in old Newton's fashion
shown little mercy in its mashing
of feathers, flesh and feet and skin
not recognizable by kin,
but yet he tumbled still around,
his head was dragging on the ground
strange nervous function had beset him
I cursed the day I had first met him.
The axe was handy, me the oldest
I certainly was not the boldest
to put an end to misery
I chopped his neck and set him free.
I almost cried at such unfairness
and for the children's full awareness
the silence stunned for many hours
we buried him, complete with flowers.
That Christmas we ate many salads,
and veggies, pumpkin, apple pie
I should not write these tragic ballads;
something inside me wants to cry.