by Anniel 9/23/16
Little Henry came with the Easter chicks
That year. He was unlovely and his leg
Was lame. We just had to name him for Dad.
Dad pretended wrath as we let him beg
To be spared the indignity.
The chick’s feathers were black, sparse and undyed.
He never grew much, though he learned to scratch.
A pink chick became Little Henry’s friend,
Picked over all the others in the batch.
They were never separated.
Little Henry was the chicken we loved,
And we never grew tired of watching him
And his friend in the dance of their caring.
We knew that they loved, it wasn’t a whim.
Each had such fun with the other.
Daddy, too, would watch with his face perplexed,
As those two young chicks scratched and pecked and played.
It was as though we all saw a great truth
During the time Henry’s brief life was stayed.
We were not prepared to lose him.
The day began hot and clear, so the storm
Was a surprise. All of the small chicks
Were out in the yard as the rain began
And turned quickly to hail as hard as bricks.
The hail smashed everything it hit.
It was so quiet following the storm
As we all went to survey the scene.
We gasped as we found the pile of Easter
Chickens, broken and dead. Our grief was keen,
As to the side we found Henry.
He had been battered to death, but his wings
Were spread, protecting a small wiggling lump.
We started to cry when Daddy reached out
To gently lift Henry. Then with a jump,
Still safe, came the little pink chick.
I’m not certain if a chicken can love
Humans, but I know a man can care,
For Daddy grieved with us. As he wept, his
Fingers smoothed Henry, so battered and bare.
He had given life for his friend.
We all learned a lot that Eastertide from
Little Henry, who was lovely and brave.
He was the only chicken I have known
For whom our father made ready a grave –
A grave for the chicken we loved.
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