Monday, 23 March 2015

Where the Hens Lived
At home the henhouse was
dry wood slatted; it stood

down among nettles
and some wild grasses but the hens’

wanderings and foragings and scratching
somehow caused

the nettles and the grass to vanish

leaving bare earth; there was an iron

watercart, swaying, squeaking as it moved

it sometimes
slopped over, if you filled the tank too full

and soaked your legs. I loved how
that ground was not definable – it was not

meadow, it was not
garden, it was not

farmland, it was just
where the hens lived, out the back –

wire, warmth, dry earth
some scraps of groundsel

poking through the holes in iron sheets
and murmuring and chattering and chortling, the sudden

fast fluttering or wings, and now and then
the cock crowing


  1. Beautiful imagery! Brings back so many memories. My grandfather and brother loved their hens. They had hundreds. Free range. Thank you, Peter.

    1. Thanks so much, Lynn, I'm glad you liked it. Yes, my childhood memories are full of hens and ducks and geese too. I can still remember the thrill of finding a goose egg - they seemed vast to a child.

  2. Just lovely, Pedro! Wonderfully evocative. I love chickens, I really do, so this brings back warm, warm feelings for me. Thank you too! xx

    1. Thanks so much Val. Yes, they're lovely creatures - great characters when they're treated properly. Ours used to roam everywhere then be shut up at night to protect from the fox. Glad you liked it.