NaBloPoMo Day 26 – When Father Carves The Duck – A Traditional Thanksgiving Poem

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22574 – 887

Here’s the haps:

The party yesterday was a lot of fun, as we expected it would be. There was one tradition we have had for the last…oh…let me think a minute…34 or 35 years that we kept this year as well. We did not tell the hosts how to run anything but rather let them do their own thing so I was delighted to be asked to read this poem again this year, because, “It’s a tradition.” Ernest Vincent Wright wrote it. His real claim to fame (in my opinion) is that he wrote a 50,110-word novel called, “Gadsby.” In all of those words, he never used the letter “e” which is the most common letter in the English language. He tied down the “e” key on his typewriter so he would not be able to use it. I have the book and plan to read it but I have a couple of other reads ahead of it. I just think that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, here is the poem, written in (I believe) 1891:

When Father Carves The Duck

We all look on with anxious eyes
When father carves the duck,
And mother almost always sighs
When father carves the duck;

Then all of us prepare to rise,
And hold our bibs before our eyes,
And be prepared for some surprise,
When father carves the duck.

He braces up and grabs a fork
Whene’er he carves a duck,
And won’t allow a soul to talk
Until he’s carved the duck.

The fork is jabbed into the sides,
Across the breast the knife he slides,
While every careful person hides
From flying chips of duck.

The platter’s always sure to slip
When father carves a duck,
And how it makes the dishes skip!
Potatoes fly amuck!

The squash and cabbage leap in space,
We get some gravy in our face,
And father mutters a Hindoo grace
Whene’er he carves a duck.

We then have learned to walk around
The dining room and pluck
From off the window-sills and walls
Our share of father’s duck.

While father growls and blows and jaws
And swears the knife was full of flaws,
And mother laughs at him because
He couldn’t carve a duck.

~By E. V. Wright


  1. Father’s lucky mother’s so tolerant! If someone destroyed a dinner I’d slaved over…..well, I won’t go on as I might cross a line here. Anyway, Father wouldn’t be carving any of my ducks more than once, I assure you!!!

  2. I had never heard of this poem, but it is a good one. I have never tried to carve a duck. If asked, I would prefer to:
    Get in a truck and spend a buck
    on fowl that goes not quack, but cluck.

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