Rhode Island Red
Eight long Junes she's laboured,
as all chickens do, on this or that;
stretched under the overhead blue,
watching flies, beaking contentedly.
Now her legs are wasted, her head
no longer bobs and chuckles
she bites the dust, no heroic cowboy,
an old spattered hen whose mind's
quite lost control.
I bend in the chicken-muck
and lift a dirty glass
to her death-hour gape.
She twists to watch me, my old maid,
with eyes that strain to open
yet still retain life-beauty –
the colour of Seville marmalade.