Thursday, February 21, 2013

"The Song of the Battery Hen"

The last post was very green. This one is more orange.

The Song of the Battery Hen
We can't grumble about accommodation:
we have a new concrete floor that's
always dry, four walls that are
painted white, and a sheet-iron roof
the rain drums on. A fan blows warm air
beneath our feet to disperse the smell
of chicken shit and, on dull days
fluorescent lightening sees us.

You can tell me: if you come by
the north door, I am in the twelfth pen
on the left hand side of the third row
from the floor; and in that pen
I am usually the middle one of three.
But even without directions, you'd 
discover me. I have the same orange-red
comb, yellow beak and auburn
feathers, but as the door opens and you
hear above the electric fan a kind of
one word wail, I am the one 
who sounds loudest in my head.

Listen. Outside this house there's an
orchard with small moss-green apple
trees; beyond that, two fields of
cabbages; then on the far side of
the road, a broiler house. Listen:
one cockerel grows out of there, as 
tall and proud as the first of the hour of the sun.
Sometimes I stop cackling with the others
to listen, and wonder if he hears me.

The next time you come here, look for me.
Notice the way I sound inside my head.
God made us all differently,
And blessed us with this expensive home.

~ Edwin Brock


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