Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Romance for the Wild Turkey

A Romance for the Wild TurkeyPaul Zimmer

They are so cowardly and stupid
Indians would not eat them
For fear of assuming their qualities.

The wild turkey always stays close
To home, flapping up into trees
If alarmed, then falling out again.
When shot it explodes like a balloon
Full of blood. It bathes by grinding
Itself in coarse dirt, is incapable
Of passion or anger, knows only
Vague innocence and extreme caution,
Walking around in underbrush
Like a cantilevered question mark,
Retreating at least hint of danger.

I hope when the wild turkey
Dreams at night it flies high up
In gladness under vast islands
Of mute starlight, its silhouette
Vivid in the full moon, guided always
By radiant configurations, high
Over chittering fields of corn
And the trivial fires of men,
Never to land again nor be regarded
As fearful, stupid, and unsure.

"A Romance for the Wild Turkey" by Paul Zimmer, from  Crossing to Sunlight Revisited. © The University of Georgia Press, 2007.


Mary Murphy said...

Love this. Saw a bunch of the wild turkeys in Virginia on the way to my retreat cabin at our Lady of the Angels monastery

William G. Hayes said...

I like the poem as well, though I don't know why for Zimmerman is wrong on every account regarding wild turkeys. It's as if it was intentional.

Indians did, and do, eat them. They range over hundreds of acres to thousands, are rather "smart" for birds and anyone who has encountered one would not consider it to be "cowardly" (just watch the youtube videos).

Even when you shoot one, it doesn't "explode"