The feast

A macédoine of shellfish and some nameless headless things,
served by Sarah Sowerbutts in the parlour of Three Kings.

Four and twenty hobos drool like four and twenty drains
as they shuffle towards the firelight and the welcoming refrain

of Sarah as she harries them, and finds a place for all:
no one must be left outside in winter’s bitter squall.

The feast is just about to start, and guests are all agog
to see what Sarah’s marinade can do for marshland frog.

For centrepiece, the groaning board bears steaming salmagundi,
enough to feed an army, or two bishops on a Sunday.

To loud halloos and table thumps, Sarah carves the goose.
Pungent jokes fly back and forth and echo from the roof.

Sarah wags her carving knife at saucy Jeb McTater:
‘Does your mother know you’re out tonight, my little sweet potater?’

Jeb’s one eye looks all about, he turns a fiery red,
and upends a flask of malmsey on old Tomkins’ palsied head.

‘Fall to!’, cries Sarah Sowerbutts, ‘and do justice to my board.
God bless us as we celebrate the goodness of Our Lord.’


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