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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Christmas Turkey

From this week's Writers' Island prompt: Secret.

Granddad would bag the parson's nose,
the wishbone was fair game between
the likes of we two boys. We'd each
take hold, and on mum's say-so, rip
the thing apart, and doing so,
would make a secret wish. The bone
would split unequally. Next, mum,
behind her back,would hide them in
her fist - just two white ends would show.
Then one of us would choose. We each
would hope the other would step up.
Whoever chose - or by default
obtained - the larger part, would wish.
The wish just might be granted - if
you kept it to yourself and breathed
no word to anyone. That was
the challenge. Meet it, and you well
might have your heart's desire. But what
if it came true for you? What then?
Could some malignant spirit steal
the booty from your grasp? I have
to say, I never did find out,
and even now I cannot tell
you, friend, one word of what I wished.

16 comments:

Arnab Majumdar said...

Life teaches us to keep secrets. You have taught us why it's important.

Cheers,
Joy...

Jim Murdoch said...

The thing about most stories about humanity’s dealings with the supernatural is that there are always rules by which both sides are obliged to abide. They might demand our soul in return, our firstborn child or just, as you say, our silence but if the debt is not paid in the prescribed manner, on time and in full then, as the saying goes, all bets are off. I like the way this starts of all nice and Christmassy – excellent opening line, by the way – and then the dark meat appears at the end. I might have used that as the difference between what the two boys got, white or dark meat, but your point is still well made.

anthonynorth said...

You painted a scene there I remember from my youth. And I can't remember those wishes either.
Great read.

120 Socks said...

Now there's a thing, if that list of wishes could be found, what would it reveal? Nice one Dave.

vivinfrance said...

This poem evokes scenes from my own - and I dare say most people's - childhood. The loose rhyme scheme suits the story-telling aspect very well.

David Cranmer said...

Secrets can be good.

Tabor said...

Strong of character you are. I hope they all come true soon.

Mike Patrick said...

Family traditions often live long after large portions of the family are gone. Lovely memory.

Windsmoke. said...

A lot of family traditions are being lost these days and are being replaced or not bothered with which is very sad. Fantastic trip down memory lane :-).

Kass said...

I always wished my mother would have another baby, hopefully a boy.

Nice poem.

Isabel Doyle said...

Isn'tit odd how the paterfamilias always bags the 'parson's nose'? And not a particularly tasty bit of turkey in my experience. Something about droit de seigneur? If the magic is in the ceremony and the wishbone, is mum always some high priestess in other rituals? The poem is like an incantation of shared experience, judging by the comments!

Dave King said...

Arnab
The secret, though, is HOW to keep them! Thanks.

Jim
I like the idea of the dark and light meat. I can see that has a lot of miles in it. Much appreciate the comments.

anthonynorth
I can recall just one of them, but what I most vividly recall is the emphasis my grandparents placed on the not telling.

120 Socks
I guess it woud tell a lot of what is secret about me! Stuff even I don't know!

vivinfrance
Hi, and a warm welcome to you. Thanks for making the trip. You are right, of course. Some of the most interesting things from the past are those that were universally experienced - but with an individual twist.

David
And sometimes they are delicious!

Tabor
Ah, I wonder if I'd want them to... thanks, anyway.

Mike
Good to have you with us. Welcome and thanks for the comment. Yes, those traditions and those memories take on new significance with age.

Windsmoke
I do so agree with you about the loss. VERY sad.

Kass
I had wished like mad that my brother would be a girl.

Isabel
Hi Great to have you visiting, for which much thanks. Also for the interesting comment. I don't recall mum being High Priestess in any other ceremony - and maybe it wasn't always her in this one. Regular events tend now to come together in a single memory in which one subsumes them all.
Thanks again.

Jinksy said...

I well remember playing this game. As we used our little fingers to hold the wishbone, I invariable lost, as my little finger was always lacking necessary stength to ba a victor!

Dave King said...

Jinksy
I do believe I hear the sound of violins, Jinksy! Never mind. Lovely comment. I thank you!

Lolamouse said...

Ah, sibling rivalry and family secrets. Always the stuff of good stories! Great poem!

Dave King said...

Lolamouse
Good stories and wars, I'm told. Thanks for the comment.