It’s hard to say whether it was Tweetspeak’s peculiar love for chickens, or whether our inner Emily Litella was over-eager to make an April 1 showing. However it happened, while the rest of the world launched National Poetry Month with resounding stanzas of well-clipped iambic pentameter, we dove off the top of the coop right into a mound of chicken feed with National Poultry Month. The nation’s poultry producers may be curious about the unexpected connection with poems, but we were delighted with the chicken poems our community produced.
And while the demand for poultry may be exploding beyond what the lowly chicken can bear, we find the also burgeoning demand for chicken poems to be encouraging:
— Maureen Doallas (@Doallas) April 1, 2015
With that in mind, we’ve decided to make the search for chicken poetry easier for those scratching around. Here are 10 great chicken poems we saw in response to our chicken poetry prompt last week (in no particular pecking order):
Beware the Vital Approaches
The number 2 is “Bring it home”—vital
for me, deadly for you. See, I am
a chef, full of pluck, using only
the freshest of ingredients.
If I bring you home, it will be
straight to the kitchen.
My grocery list says tamari sauce,
cilantro, and, worst of all,
garlic, all of which spell
a poem you may not want to read.
A chicken whose name was Chantecler
Clucked in iambic pentameter
It sat on a shelf, reading Song of Myself
And laid eggs with a perfect diameter.
mad as a wet hen
Saturday afternoon whilst shaking
loose produce scraps I
tumbled into the chicken yard –
(a flailing surprise
for the squawkers). They
clamored and clucked and
ran like the chickens
they are. My dog and
my son came running. One
growled. The other yelled. I
moaned a bit then mended fence
with bailing twine and foul
words. As the cluckers shy-picked,
cautious-pecked at their buffet, I changed
my smashed tomato, squishy
cucumber, and burnt crust clothes.
how to tackle this chicken poem
chicken fingers (even though chickens have feathers)
roasted chicken with a side of mac and cheese
chicken cacciatore (a little spicy with baby bella mushrooms over a pile of penne)
chicken francese marsala angelo and parmesean
chicken parmesean with a side of penne and a glass of wine for lunch on Thursdays
chicken cutlets (breaded, not the kind you stick in your bra to make your boobs bigger, thankfully i don’t need those at all)
i just wrote “boobs” in public, thanks Anne Lamott
i’m sweating a little because i wrote “boobs” in public
chicken a la king
chicken pot pie
buffalo chicken wings
buffalo chicken wrap
broiled chicken sandwich
grilled chicken, with bacon on a roll,
and some avocado.
what would julia child say about all this chicken??
Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens – A Found Poem
Do you remember, I held empty hands to you
without a thought of eggs and bacon?
Stupid in candlelight, hearing rain,
waiting fulfillment. . .
It was all very simple:
Last night I dreamed of chickens.
(Punctuation/capitalization added by the poet)
Title: Jack Prelutsky, “Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens”
Carl Sandburg, “Potato Blossom Songs and Jigs”
Lewis Carroll, “Lays of Sorrow”
Philip Larkin, “Wedding Wind”
Amy Lowell, “Thompsons Lunch Room – Grand Central Station”
Richard Brautigan, “Trout Fishing in America”
Jack Pretlusky, “Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens”
“are you chicken, ”
squint-eyed and red cheeked, with all
those freckles splashed across his pug nose
i look from his leering grin to my
yellow flip-flop, bobbing in the pool
like a duck in azure water
just beyond my reach.
do I stretch out to retrieve it, risk
the shove i know is coming
or go home, shoeless
and face the wrath of mom?
everyone is watching as i stand paralyzed
by indecision and then, suddenly
he’s gone. submerged in a splash of water
his fat arms pumping, mouth yelling
my sister shoved him in
and the tidal wave of his humiliation
brought the yellow flip-flop to my
No Time to Lay – A Found Poem
I hate to admit this:
I am nude as a chicken neck.
I’m in the backyard on a quilt
beyond the coop.
Yes, a real-life chick—
white as the snow that never falls.
Red sun is burning out.
The dog lets out a howl.
I think I’m going to die.
(Punctuation/capitalization added by the poet)
Title: Jane Finch, “No Time to Lay”
1 Linh Dinh, “Eating Fried Chicken”
2 Sylvia Plath, “The Bee Meeting”
3-4 Bruce Weigl, “Killing Chickens”
5 Joseph Estes, “My Easter Chick Shang Hi”
6 Kelli Webb, “How to Eat Fried Chicken”
7 Bruce Weigl, “Killing Chickens”
8 Jane Finch, “The Chicken Farm (Part 1)”
9 Tenekia Balfour-Mitchell, “Craving for jerk chicken”
My coop lights burn at both ends,
please let me sleep I beg.
and worse, my foes, and fie, my friends,
you also eat my legs.
—Mil Lay (Richard Maxson)
April is the coolest month, setting
chickens free of the frying pan, giving
free range to the Easter Eggers, stirring
hearts and minds at their roots.
—from The Eggland, Burial of the Egg (Richard Maxson)
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland