Hen pecked

During the summer holidays a friend and I were hen sitting for ten days. We’d gather greens from our respective gardens, meet at the inlet, wander over the causeway, swing vegetable bags as we strolled along by the harbour and then chatter our way up Doone St. After filling the water bowl and the grain trough we’d scatter the greens before collecting the eggs. But the greens held no appeal when there were toes complete with red nail polish to tempt them. I’m not sure if they thought they were lady birds or what but after two days of being hen-pecked I changed my footwear! (Photos courtesy of the Doone St hens!)

So when I came across Eggs I immediately added Claire to my list of poets to contact. Eggs features in the latest poetry card along with seven other poems. Look out for the dove grey card at your local medical practice or contact me and I’ll pop one in the post for you.




Our neighbours carry eggs across the hedge
on birthdays; one egg wrapped in lemon tissue
paper with crimson spirals and a raffia twist;
two in a navy-blue nest with floral wallpaper,
the date inscribed on blunt horizons in gold;
once there were six, mismatched,
in a plain beige egg box.

I know the chooks by name; they wake me
in the morning, help keep our weeds down
and on adventurous days stray beyond
the grass to the driveway where they find
the tyres on our car fascinating. I admire
their dismissive attitude towards our cats.
They strut and cluck and at end of each day
lay eggs the colours of my children’s skin –
a grand and fragile achievement.

Claire Beynon

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