Hens

I think I’ve been waiting for you all my life.
To glimpse you through the kitchen window
scratching between iris and daffodil,
disrupting roots, sprawling moll-like
in a patch of sun, wings spread flush
with the ground, a coquettish leg
in the air and rolling lascivious eye.
You’re disruptive of course –
annuals, seedlings go by the wayside,
Christmas lilies cordoned off,
brassicas like khaki interns on parade –
but what small price
for that vigorous rustling
as mulch scatters from under hedges,
to have you beady at my side
grabbing worms as I pull up buttercups;
or whetting your beaks on the path, this side
that side, like good chefs sharpening knives.
I love the way you pose like weathervanes
on the axe handle,
to watch as I wash dishes
how today’s menu, or tonic
is borage or bindweed or dock
that you will strip back
to a handful of cellulose spikes.
The way you share a laying box
when there is one for each of you
and midwife one another
through your confinements.
The way you lay eggs –
those warm white ellipses
on the straw.
Somehow for all the wreckage
the garden was never more alive.
You offer a remote conviviality
that I don’t presume upon
as I would, say, a dog or cat,
I’m afraid it’s species that I’m celebrating here,
not personality,
that atavistic sense of well-being you provoke
you unremarkably remarkable hens.
I’m grateful, watching you just now
splashing about in dust
for that reassurance you give,
of simple notions, like goodness.

by Sarah Day

Comments (1)

the snow leopard is a majestic specie which deserves protection.well written poem