A motley crew had just arrived, boxed-up inside the driver's truck,
bedraggled from their bumpy ride. The farmer waved and wished me luck.
Now emptied from a cardboard crate, this knackered flock of weathered hens
emerged in such a sorry state, I knew I had to make amends...
We all stood there as if in shock, bewildered by a loud alarm,
for, sure enough, our breathless clock announced his love with easy charm.
A feather there, a feather here, these battery hens that fiercely fought
were left with scars from ear to ear, their state of mind no doubt, distraught.
But, settled now by grasses green (the only grass they've ever known),
they wear their combs like regal queens with feathers preened and fully grown.
I watch them prance as if reborn, each feather flushed with autumn hues,
then scratch about the garden lawn in search of anything that moves.
Like slugs and beetles, worms and snails, they comb the earth throughout the day
and eat whatever crawls or sails, then lounge with ease about the hay.
And so, when moon had cycled right, the seed of every queen was sown,
and, with great joy at morning's light, our rooster bragged upon his throne...
Months later... shocked to see the lawn without a single blade on show,
I grabbed my trusty axe this morn and marched across the fallen snow
and, straight toward the queens I popped with eager hands and sharpened blade—
and with a mighty swipe I chopped a pile of wood beside the glade.
And, from that pile I took some wood inside the house to feed the stove
and later cooked a stew that stood to warm our tums with thyme and clove.
The rest, we know, is history now; my family warmed with hearty stew…
and then, of course, we knew just how the hens' new home we'd built anew
would also keep them nice and warm throughout the winter's chilly nights.
Alas, the queens all lay at dawn, their golden eggs—a priceless sight...