Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

The Hen's Complaint


Beside an incubator stood
The would-be mother of a brood.

With drooping wings and nodding head,
These are the clucked-out words she said:

'O, vile invention of the age,
You fill me with a burning rage!

Unfeeling monster, moved by steam,
You rob me of life's sweetest dream!

Deprived of offspring which I crave,
I must go childless to my grave.

My aching wings which long to cover
A chirping brood of nestlings over,

No more may know that comfort sweet,
Since chickens may be hatched by heat.

Three weeks of quiet expectation
(Full many a flighty hen's salvation)

I am denied, for now men say
A hen should be content to lay,

And furnish eggs to incubate,
And setting hens are out of date.

Alas, for such a cruel fashion-'
The angry fowl paused, choked with passion,

While from behind a strong hand caught her
And doused her in a tub of water.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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