Young Chickens

a poem by Paul Butters, UK

These balls of fluff, so small and light,
They make a sweet and delicate sight.

With tiny beaks and dewdrop eyes,
And stalky legs on clutching toes,
Soft chickens chirp and shake,
While mother keeps them safe from foes.

My sister’s hands, uncertain, flicker-
Take hold afraid a one-day chick;
Such vices that could snap it’s twiggy ribs
Or mangle wings like petals
If startled by a stalky flutter.

These bright, shimmering, shivering balls of sun,
Like magnificent tigers, grand yet near extinct,
They shame the work of man.

For what can he create?
A glittering palace of steel and concrete and soot,
Which crumbles, black, to strew the sterile earth with slag.

Self-seeding grass retakes the rubble jigsaw!
The carcass of man’s mortal mark,
Once left,
Is dust in nature’s wake.

See spring now banish the death of winter,
As leaf-clouds billow from tree-trunk spikes,
Puffed like a yacht’s wind-filled sail.

Above, great white clouds cruise on a crystal film,
On the surface of a great waveless ocean.
Beyond, rests the dome of the sky,
Pure blue,
Broken only by the radiant sun.


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