What struck me first was their panic.
Some were pulled by the wind from moving
to the ends of the stacked cages,
some had their heads blown through the bars—
and could not get them in again.
Some hung there like that—dead—
their own feathers blowing, clotting
in their faces. Then
I saw the one that made me slow some—
I lingered there beside her for five miles.
She had pushed her head through the space
between bars—to get a better view.
She had the look of a dog in the back
of a pickup, that eager look of a dog
who knows she’s being taken along.
She craned her neck.
She looked around, watched me, then
strained to see over the car—strained
to see what happened beyond.
That is the chicken I want to be.
~Jane Mead “Passing a Truck Full of Chickens at Night on Highway Eighty” from The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, 2015
I want to be that chicken.
When life is an anxious,
even terrifying journey
and everything around me is a swirl of chaos –
I want to be able to stick my head up above the fray,
feel the wind as opportunity rather than threat
and exist content in the moment,
looking ahead to what may happen,
Reaching my mind beyond what I can hardly grasp,
I want to be that chicken
who experiences life like a dog.
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
~Robert Browning from “Andrea Del Sarto”