Where we lived when I was a girl, most of the gardens
around us were like my Dad’s. Full of vegetables, fruit,
flowers and hens. They were beautiful gardens and I
remember our garden with great fondness.
LITTLE BROWN HENS AND RED
My father’s garden was full of little brown hens
High stepping, tippy tapping in and out of the daffodils,
Pecking at the Spring mint, settling in the potato patch,
Always protesting, always complaining.
Not enough of this. Too little of that.
The wicked tortoiseshell cat pinning them down
With eyes greener than the very grass they trod on.
They would crowd around the kitchen door,
Indignant little bodies demanding hen justice.
But they liked their bit of my father’s garden
With worms trying to live quietly beneath them.
Until my cousin came with his hard hands,
Hungry eyes and a heart intent on killing,
Then I went out shouting,
Scattering the little brown hens and the red,
Causing the dark cockerel
To turn his bitter, livid eye on my hateful presence.
Squawking, they fled, hiding under the hen coop.
Darting into the rhubarb leaves at the back of the tree.
But when my cousin kept coming, when his boots broke
The sunny daffodils, I pushed him so hard, he fell over,
I didn’t care about him.
For my little red hens and brown,
The arrogant cockerel with his angry eyes
All lived to tuck themselves up again
And sleep their tiny pulsing sleep.
To wake in the morning,
Ready for another really interesting day.
©2020 Gwen Grant