Saturday, May 29, 2010

Petticoat Junction

We had some friends over this week for "chicken drinks" which I think should become a regular ritual. Great company, good wine and chicken watching. It's very relaxing to watch the girls wonder around the yard. My friend Paige received an unexpected visit from Blackberry, jumped right on her lap. That's Blackberry for you.

The fun part of chicken watching is when the girls, suddenly and without reason, take off running. Wings flapping, feathers flying, squeals of excitement. As quickly as it starts, it stops. They all go back to grazing, bent over with petticoats in the air. Fluffy rumps and ruffles shining in the sun.

So when my blog buddy Stephy sent this poem, I had to share it.

A Glossary of Chickens
by Gary Whitehead

There should be a word for the way
they look with just one eye, neck bent,
for beetle or worm or strewn grain.

“Gleaning,” maybe, between “gizzard”
and “grit.” And for the way they run
toward someone they trust, their skirts
hiked, their plump bodies wobbling:
“bobbling,” let’s call it, inserted
after “blowout” and before “bloom.”



There should be terms, too, for things
they do not do—like urinate or chew—
but perhaps there already are.

I’d want a word for the way they drink,
head thrown back, throat wriggling,
like an old woman swallowing
a pill; a word beginning with “S,”
coming after “sex feather” and before “shank.”




And one for the sweetness of hens
but not roosters. We think
that by naming we can understand,
as if the tongue were more than muscle.

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