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