Pottage Canticles 1 and 2*

by Jim Tyack

1. BEEF! You liver you chicken hearts, salamies!
Honest meat, Diogenes knew you. Pork!
Meats for mustards, mayonnaise, Musky mutton -

Salud! You digestible red viscera. Ambrosia!
Delicate duck and deer. Diana saw your protein,
Danced with Faunus filled with your muscle

While the Bard praised the organs of sheep,
Turkey, we gobbled your gizzard! Goose, you're cooked!
Those unfortunate few in Strasbaurg share their liver

With the World. Insects in Africa! Worms in New Zealand!
Fish, you are meat no matter what the Catholics say!
You're nearly lizard, more than clam. Mock no turtles!

Sing the song of Bacon! Cold Cuts! Tripe!
Snakes have fed the armies of Asia; Adam knew it well.
Ham! Herod had you as Deuteronomy slept!

Simon Magic chalked circles on a floor
and conjured Squabs and Pheasant. Pork again!
Buffalo! Many moons you kept the Indian!

Hamburgers! Fill the freckled faces of millions!
Oh Oxtail Sow's Ear! Calf shank! Steaks sizzle in pans!
Eureka! Meat, you Glory meat! You texture!

Vegetables! You tubers, grains, leafy legumes!
Watercress! Great Radish! Rutabaga! Red Beets!
Stringbeans a la Francais! Parsley plumage!

The mushroom's secret medicine! Truffle!
Turnips, sweet pithy breasts of Earth, Potato!
Dance, you greens! Conceive soups and stews!

Perform you Botanical miracles! Celery be Crisp!
Corn, exhume your Golden Genie, be Maize!
Vitamize the nation with your secret core!

Petit-Pois! You emerald-eyed beads, unshucked!
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale - knots of nourishment!
Vegetables your are kingdoms; your rain majestic.

You celluloid structures, chlorophylled by sun!
Your fate is in a form that also breathes!
Eggplant! You Black Mystery! Spinach from sandy soil!

Did not Witches know your secret brews? Parsnip! Yam!
Carrot! Squash! You colors! Da Vinci saw your light,
Gioto impaled your hue on pallid palettes!

We distill you Vegetable! Drink the nectar of your Nature! Tomato! Onion! Lettuce! You Trinity of Salad!
You Verdure! We ravage your ripeness!

*First-prize winner, asinine poetry literary contest, spring 2003

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