If you’ve never gotten up in the morning to feed the chickens, it is quite an experience. This time of the year (very early spring) I check every morning for a fluffed hen who’s claimed a pile of eggs and has decided to be a mommy. Last Spring we welcomed Junebug, a sweet bantam cochin baby who followed me everywhere and took a liking to raiding the cat food bowl. We usually don’t keep too many of the babies, but Junebug stole my heart. Here is Junebug as a baby last spring:
This morning I went to feed the chickens and the wind in my face overwhelmed me with a deep wish to see the ocean. Sometimes that little bit of breeze on your face and you can almost smell the salty air of the coast. I wrote a quick poem about feeding the chickens this morning, and a deep longing for a visit with the sea. Here is Hen Song.
Blue Tupperware pitcher scoops up grainy feed.
I open the door; the wind steals my breath.
Stepping onto the deck I am stunned
By the sudden impulse to close my eyes
Suck in the wind and hear…
I hear the ocean.
I can almost see gulls, ring-billed, Bonaparte’s
Lifting, gliding, tucking, diving
Snatching up a silver flapping gift
From the sea.
I crunch through leaves, dried
Desperate for Spring
Buttercups plunging toward sky
Open, thirsty mouths of yellow and white.
The chickens march, two-footed and beak
pacing the fence
Craning their feathered necks
to see what I have brought.
I scatter and pour,
Check waterers, collect eggs
Silkies pecking at the polish on my toes.
Hello Miracle and Junebug!
Freedom and Merlin, Icy and Sprinkle!
Good morning! Good morning!
Squawk and song applaud a hen’s efforts
As I retreat, scraping my flip flops in grass.
I close my eyes and think of echinoderms
Suspended in the sand.
A conch shouts my name.