Turkeys Observed

Turkeys Observed Providing a master class in transposing close observation into verse Heaney laments the sorry sight of turkeys slaughtered for Christmas. Shop-window displays of traditional festive British fare generate a chain of associations in the poet’s mind linking the ‘v’ of the Diviner’s hazel stick and the ‘v’ of a turkey’s wishbone (poor forked thing)! He paints a pitiful scene: plucked turkeys, blue-breasted in death, displayed unfeelingly in butchers’ shops (indifferent mortuary), beached like huge sea creatures on the shore, lying on cold marble slabs, stripped (bare) of their dignity save for butcher’s decoration (immodest underwear frills of feather).  Hung beef has grandeur, retaining some of the smelly majesty of living; to Heaney the presence of a side of […]