4.12.2011

A Glossary of Chickens: Celebrating National Poetry Month

 A Glossary Of Chickens


by Gary Whitehead

"New Yorker", May 24, 2010


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.

Tomorrow I will have pictures, hopefully, of my own chickens, but for tonight... a stock photo.

2 comments:

  1. That is a poem that perfectly describes the essence of "chicken".

    ReplyDelete

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