Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

Talking Turkey

by Oliver Barton

First time the turkey spoke,
Farmer Gregor went grey.
It had seemed a curious day
The moment he awoke,
   And the sun like an orange
   Rose over the Blorenge*
      As dawn broke.

On had gone vest and sock,
Pullover over his head,
And he went to the turkey shed
To come face to face with this cock,
   Screaming obscenity
   About the amenity
      And his flock.

Gregor said ‘What?' in complete disbelief
The bird said, ‘You heard, you're giving us grief
The conditions in here are completely unlawful,
They're dank and they're drear and quite simply awful,
It's hot and it's loud and smelly and murky
And worst, overcrowded; it's time to talk turkey.

‘See here,' the turkey-cock crew,
‘What we demand is S-P-A-C-E!'
He gobbled in Gregor's face
His wattles a horrible hue,
   ‘Good food and clean water
   And then humane slaughter,
      That will do.'

Gregor snarled, ‘No, I refuse!'
The bird bragged, ‘You'd better say Yes
Or else we squeal to the press-
A talking turkey, that's news!'
   So Greg shot the sinner
   And stir-fried him for dinner
With pak choi, oyster sauce and cashews.

(*One of the seven hills of Abergavenny, Wales)

Added: 15.12.2009

Judges' comments on this poem


Has the makings of a picture book text, though I honestly don't see a turkey arguing for humane slaughter (unless of Gregor)! Good fun.


I like the animal rights element to this poem, nicely worked in and not too preachy - great stuff