Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

The Depredating Hen - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

Of all the things in nature that afflict the sons of men,
There is nothing that I know of beats the depredating

If you see a wild-eyed woman firing brick-bats from the


You can bet a hen has busted up her little flower bed.
She plunders and she scratches, she cackles and she


And forty thousand cowboys could n't keep her in a pen ;
She was sent on earth to fret us, to excoriate the lettuce ;
She 's a thoro'-going nuisance, is the depredating hen.

I threw a brick and missed her, as she hustled out my


But Julius Caesar's statue was smashed to smithereens !
I saw her digging rifle pits where I 'd put my pansies in ;
I threw a good sized rock, and hit my hired man on the

shin !
She busts all bounds and shackles : she giggles and she

cackles ;
She makes me say some earnest things I have n't time to


I never used bad language ; but now I 'm filled with

anguish ;
Alas ! I 've broke the record thro' that depredating hen.

But now thro'out my cabinet there floats a pleasant smell ;
And the reason for that perfume is n't very hard to tell,
For when I rose this morning, saw my cabbage bed a


I caught that depredating hen and wrung her cussed neck !
I hear her fizz and crackle ; no more she '11 scratch and


Or make my summer garden look like some hyena's den ;
She far too long has bossed me ; she far too much has

cost me
I 'll eat at luncheon time to-day a hundred-dollar hen.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012

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