‘Butchers are all so healthy and nice looking,
What beautiful pink skins they have,’
I said one Saturday, one summer,
In the main street of a Gippsland town.
Full of protein, briskly smiling,
In their laundered linen whites
They stood brandishing their cleavers
And well-honed knives.
A wire screen kept the flies at bay,
Customers kicked sawdust round
While making crucial weekend choices,
Chops, T-bone, a roast;
While the boss marked incisions
In a forequarter, neat as pie,
Or else flopped steaks on bits of paper
(‘Thank you, madam. Will that be all?’)
And his logical neat window
Like a flower garden, red and white
Varied with the odd black pudding,
Really turned me on.
‘I’d almost like to be a butcher’
Was the thought ran through my brain
But my senses were already loping
Ahead to the lunchtime barbecue.
© Chris Wallace-Crabbe