Toulouse Goose (poem)

My brother got a goose; I believe it was a gander.
He said it was Toulouse*, not to lose but to meander
In the yard around his farmhouse, eating weeds and growing fat
And this is what he said when I said, what’s the use of that?

He explained:

The breed is bred for meat and fat and many other uses
While its disposition (so I’m told) surpasses other gooses
But the real reason (so I’ve read) to grow this sort of oie (pronounced wah)**
Is that it’s the breed that’s needed for the making of foie gras (fwah grah)***.
You take a baby goose, then you feed it quite a lot
And later on its liver is delicious cold or hot.
You can serve it on a sandwich, you can sell it fresh or canned
But remember that it’s legal any place it isn’t banned.

I thought I ought to get one, but he raised a hand in warning:
Be clear, you’ll hear a lot of horrid honking every morning!
Your neighbors may not thank you for the noises of alarm when it
Assumes that every human is intent on doing harm.
But first you must determine which variety to get
For it comes in two varieties: a (ah) or sans bavette (sahns bah-vet).
One of them is larger (I do not recall which one)
And has got a dangly dewlap that will jiggle on the run.

In conclusion:

The bird is very useful from its liver to its feathers
And will thrive in many temperatures and many different weathers.
This is why (I must presume) so many farmers choose
Not to grow just any gooses, but the gooses of Toulouse.


* Toulouse (to LOOZ), a town in France in region Occitania.
Their mountains are the Pyrenees, and geese the local mania.

**Oie is French for goose, though again I don’t know why.
I suppose in France one should speak French; at least one ought to try.

***The liver of a goose, although I know what you will say:
“Disgusting!” But in France, I hear they eat the stuff all day.****

****Perhaps you shouldn’t judge. Do you know what’s in hot dogs?
You’re happier just hoping that it’s mostly cows or hogs.


This poem is a true story. I had to revise it when my brother Zack (the farmer) fact-checked me, as I had assumed (wrongly) that geese eat bugs as do the ducks and chickens I keep in my own yard. Geese, it turns out, are almost entirely herbivorous; which may explain why geese leave those elegant little green-and-white logs on the grass instead of the noisome disaster that is duck waste.

I'm still not getting a goose, though. They are way too loud for my liking (especially in the suburbs with neighbors) and sometimes attack children. Which might still be okay for some children (it did me a world of good, obviously) but presumes a goose that, like Santa or Krampus, can intuitively judge naughty or nice; and few geese operate at this level of nuance. So, no geese.