Friday, November 5, 2010

Mag 39 and a Late Poetry Wednesday

Kill the old Red Rooster
My father in the closing days of World War II had read a popular book of the times about existing and thriving on an acre of land. He bought two and begun a house that in my memory never seemed done. We had a "truck garden" on half an acre and raised all our own vegetables and sold some too. And he raised and field trained Beagles and Irish Setters, and because of the training hunted for rabbits and all manners of birds. And Mom raised chickens and sold eggs. I was trained in egg gathering before school. God, how I hate chickens!

Kill That Old Red Rooster

Chickens little peeping in my skirts
Chicken shit on the bottoms of my feet
Egg snakes trapped in the fence
That big red rooster stalking me in the coop
Gathering eggs on a damp Missouri morning.

Eggs hatching in the incubator
Fluffy yellow chicks for Easter
Fried chicken for dinner
Scrambled eggs for breakfast
Hiding broken eggs that fell from the basket
I had swung at Rooster Red.

Washing eggs clean of chicken shit
Putting them gently in cartoons to deliver in the wagon
Dipping beheaded chickens in boiling water
Getting plucked feathers all over my face
Up my nose and all over my clothes.

The smell of warm blood and wet feathers
The squawk of the hens and the thud of the axe
Echoing in my dreams with the slithering egg snakes
On butchering day
But smiling that at last
That ole Red Rooster was gone.

J. Binford-Bell 2010

On blogger Magpie Tales has a weekly writing challenge. It is always nice to stretch our wings. Magpie Tales posts a visual or written prompt every week that a host of bloggers take up and develop into short tales and poems. This week the prompt was the picture of the Rooster above. I encourage my readers to go to the link above and read some of other entries linked there.


  1. You described - in vivid detail - so much of my childhood experience. My grandparents had a farm which I spent my summer vacations working on! Your Magpie is spectacular!

  2. I really enjoyed reading about how your father bought the land and so on.
    Chickens poop and that is the end. We bought our daughters cute little baby chicks for Easter. They turned into full grown popping machines!!
    Your poem was full of vivid images and it made me smile.

  3. My children spent a week every summer on their grandparents' farm in Kansas. The chicken dinner, start to finish, is one they'll never forget.

    (btw, your link takes us back to last week's entry. I tried to fix it, but for some reason, won't cooperate!)

  4. Oh, I see you've linked again! Thanks!

  5. The straight poop, as anyone who has ever worked on a chicken farm can attest :)

  6. An experience well-expressed.

    You've made me feel very grateful for being raised in a city.

  7. I'm so happy this isn't on the agenda at my place. I remember seeing it at my grandparents' house and can still see/smell the scene...
    Well written...

  8. you know...dont know if i can eat a chicken after spending time on a chicken farm...really...

  9. The imagery in this is so good. I could see you as a little girl, doing your chicken chores.

  10. my uncle had hens - so the smells and incidents sounds familiar to me...very nice

  11. Excellent poem. Sounds so like the farm my hubby's uncle had. I never had the nerve to visit there - what with them meat cleavers and things...

  12. oh, dear, chickens, eggs, you have got all of them...
    perfect tale.

  13. This is why I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't see a pavement.

    Country and farms are nice for visiting but for the most part, I'm a townie

    Great post linked to your childhood.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.