The Legend of the Cosmic Hen

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Before there was a cosmic egg, there was a cosmic hen. Even in the absence of gravity, she couldn’t stay airborne.

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She was alone. When her feet got frost-bitten & began to bleed, she had to cannibalize herself.

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It was her need to bathe that gave rise to the galaxies. Bright dust spun out from hen-shaped holes.

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Laying left her slightly crazed. To this day, hens stand over their newly laid eggs & declare their readiness to buck, buck — buck all! Only then do they settle, croon & brood.

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Free range has its limits. For billions of years she waited in the middle of nowhere, listening for a car, for a cart — for anything on wheels to come along so she could race in front of it, wings outspread, making the first cross.

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7 Replies to “The Legend of the Cosmic Hen”

  1. “making the first cross” –calls to mind “The Windhover.”…of course. As a person who keeps hens, I enjoyed this. (For images of the chicken in modern poetry, you might like to look up Linnea Johnson’s collection “Augury”)

  2. I love this, Dave. Such great imagery. I especially like “It was her need to bathe that gave rise to the galaxies. Bright dust spun out from hen-shaped holes.” The last stanza, though, just captures me.

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