The Law of the Perverse

Where did the custom come from, anyway —
Sending the boys to " play, " at dinner-time,
When we have company? What is there, pray,
About the starched, unmalleable guest
That, in the host's most genial interest,
Finds him first favor on Thanksgiving Day
Beside the steaming turkey, with its wings
Akimbo over all the savory things
It has been stuffed with, yet may never thus
Make one poor boy's face glad and glorious!

Fancy the exiled boy in the back yard,
Ahungered so, that any kind of grub
Were welcome, yet with face set stern and hard,
Hearing the feasters' mirth and mild hubbub,
And wanting to kill something with a club! —
Intuitively arguing the unjust
Distinction, as he naturally must, —
The guest with all the opportunity —
The boy with all the appetite! Ah, me!

So is it that, when I, a luckless guest,
Am thus arraigned at banquet, I sit grim
And sullen, eating nothing with a zest, —
With smirking features, yet a soul distressed,
Missing the banished boy and envying him —
Ay, longing for a spatter on my vest
From his deflecting spoon, and yearning for
The wild swoop of his lips insatiate, or
His ever-ravenous, marauding eye
Fore-eating everything, from soup to pie!
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