Alasdair Paterson

from On the Governing of Empires

On taxonomy

let the dishes come
in their proper order

bring on the silent
unsung vegetable world
to make the board groan
with a kinsman's grace
trumpet in the finny tribe
so distant from their music
and sweet birds tumbled
from the air like myths
we cherished until yesterday
ransack crammed bestiaries
of open ground and forest
meek and proud piled
cheek by jowl and
let them all be suitably
disposed undressed spiced
sauced with mortality

unleash the forked animal