Thanksgiving Suite

I Am A Turkey Merchant
[Good To Know St**]

This may be obvious but
Turkeys (the fowls) are named
In English
After the country

They are indigenous to this continent

In Hebrew, we call them hodu
Accent on first syllable
Referring to the country of India.

In French they are called dinde
A corruption of d’Inde
From India.

What gives?

Some time in the mid sixteenth
The British named the bird Turkey
Thinking it resembled the
Guinea fowl
Which they associated with a trade
Of the eastern Mediterranean
— thus Turkey.

I began by the way
As a guinea trader
In the eastern Mediterranean
As did many of my ancestors —
I am a turkey merchant.

Benjamin Franklin thought
Turkey should be our national bird
Rather than the eagle
Smarter [??]
And indigenous — he said.

Other cultures linked the Turkey bird
To India in addition to Hebrew
In Arabic diiq hindi – Indian rooster
Polish indyk from India
Russia indjuk
Yiddish indik
Adjective indish —

The bird from India
Reflecting an Old World point of view
Imagining the bird as a animal
— The exotic East
Even in Turkish it is

A kind of generic exoticism
Of place.

Another theory —
Traced back to another one of my ancestors
Luis de Torres
The translator on Columbus’s ship
He spotted a large wild bird
with a head and body like a peacock.
The male even had a feathered display.

Luis familiar with Biblical Hebrew
Unfamiliar with large ungainly birds
Called the bird a tukki
[see I Kings 10:22 and II Chronicle 9:21]
(we use that for parrot)
Which became corrupted into

It’s good to know sh**.