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.
She was alone. When her feet got frost-bitten & began to bleed, she had to cannibalize herself.
It was her need to bathe that gave rise to the galaxies. Bright dust spun out from hen-shaped holes.
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.
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.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Next Life
- The Last Lion in Pennsylvania (Version 2)
- The Origin of the Ear
- Medusa, Bodhisattva
- Air: A Grievance
- Celestial Body
- Of Two Minds
- Educational Films
- Two Kinds of Boxes
- Before Genesis
- The Viking Buddha
- The Legend of the Cosmic Hen
7 Replies to “The Legend of the Cosmic Hen”
Irresistably reminded me of the iron chicken from the Clangers.
Never heard of it. Maybe I’ll see what’s on YouTube.
“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”)
Thanks. People who’ve never kept chickens might not get all of it, but that shouldn’t matter, I hope.
I see you’ve reviewed Augury — sounds interesting!
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.
Oh, good to hear! Thanks for the kind words.