Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Olive Senior

Yard Fowl

Yard Fowl

Yard Fowl

Rooster

As long as a Rooster somewhere
is angry enough to claw at
the sun blood red rising and
pull it through, day will come:
the world will go on.

Hen

Woman luck lie a dungle heap, fowl come scratch it up.
- Jamaican saying


Some find you loud mouth and simple,
for every egg laid a big announcement
a cackle, some find you
the broody hen, not knowing all
is meant to throw spies off the scent
of your blood’s secret: you know
the sky isn’t falling, geese don’t lay
golden eggs, superior knowledge
resides in the feet.

You are mistress of maps to the under
layer, to buried treasure. Why else
do you nod your head and give thanks
as you sup? With every scratch,
woman’s luck you turn up.

Guinea hen

In Granny’s eyes, our foremost barnyard warrior is not
after all our fierce Rooster or surly Turkey Gobbler
but mild Guinea Hen, her badge of office her spotted
feathers. She stands on guard at that barrier they call
Reputation. For Granny explicating the difference
between Good Girls and Bad always ends her homily
with warning as fact: Seven year not enough
to wash speckle off Guinea Hen back.

When Granny holds up Guinea Hen as the symbol
of spoilt reputation, we study her pattern and interpret
Granny’s warning to mean: Not that you can’t do so.
Just don’t let the world know.
Never let the spots show.
Close

Yard Fowl

Rooster

As long as a Rooster somewhere
is angry enough to claw at
the sun blood red rising and
pull it through, day will come:
the world will go on.

Hen

Woman luck lie a dungle heap, fowl come scratch it up.
- Jamaican saying


Some find you loud mouth and simple,
for every egg laid a big announcement
a cackle, some find you
the broody hen, not knowing all
is meant to throw spies off the scent
of your blood’s secret: you know
the sky isn’t falling, geese don’t lay
golden eggs, superior knowledge
resides in the feet.

You are mistress of maps to the under
layer, to buried treasure. Why else
do you nod your head and give thanks
as you sup? With every scratch,
woman’s luck you turn up.

Guinea hen

In Granny’s eyes, our foremost barnyard warrior is not
after all our fierce Rooster or surly Turkey Gobbler
but mild Guinea Hen, her badge of office her spotted
feathers. She stands on guard at that barrier they call
Reputation. For Granny explicating the difference
between Good Girls and Bad always ends her homily
with warning as fact: Seven year not enough
to wash speckle off Guinea Hen back.

When Granny holds up Guinea Hen as the symbol
of spoilt reputation, we study her pattern and interpret
Granny’s warning to mean: Not that you can’t do so.
Just don’t let the world know.
Never let the spots show.

Yard Fowl

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère