Here’s one for the friends in our lives who have succumbed to the charms of chickens. A dozen poems celebrate their quirks and curiosities, with chickens increasingly kept and cherished by besotted owners whose gardens and smallholdings will never be the same again.
From Diana Gittins’ petulant hens preening themselves and annihilating the flower beds, to Caroline Hawkridge’s splendid cockerel straddling the world and yelling his good morning, endearing characters of the poultry world come clucking to life:
‘There should be a word for the way
they look with just one eye, neck bent …
… And for the way they run
toward someone they trust, their skirts
hiked, their plump bodies wobbling.’
from ‘A Glossary of Chickens’ by Gary Whitehead
Poems by Jean Atkin, Jacqueline Brown, John Clare, Robert Frost, Diana Gittins, Robert Graves, Caroline Hawkridge, Norman MacCaig, Kay Ryan, Sir Charles Sedley, Jane Sudworth and Gary Whitehead.
Cover illustration by Beth Krommes.