Ode to an Abandoned Black Mother Hen


Such a sunny morning surprise sitting in bright green grass,

A proud mother hen with tall back feathers, glossy, gleaming black,

Abandoned by hasty tenants while brooding to survive unattended,

Now with a scurrying family of seven baby chicks … white, blond,

Brindled blobs of fluff, peep-peep-peeping, tagging their mother,

Cluck-cluck-clucking, scratching dirt, pecking at grubs.

For two days her presentation prevailed in downpours and sunshine,

Little ones learning scrawny scratches and pecks, flapping tiny wings;

Then three chicks went missing, perhaps snatched by a hungry hawk…

A premonition that odds of babies without shelter

Was directed by wilder agents keen for self-survival.

The next morning the mother hen and other chicks were not found,

No long tail feathers, no dirty scramble, no cries in night-time terror…

What grabbed her proud protective body sheltering her brood underneath?

Was it a bobcat or coyote that carried her into the brush to be eaten?

Or, per chance, did the tenants return to recoup their missing birds

To restore them safely inside a coop with food, doors and roof for safety?

Either way, she lives because these words make her alive and appreciated,

And nature forgives within the folly of human’s careless abandonment.

Annemarie Berukoff