They’re family, from the farm worked
out of moorland soil with its bitter grass
and habit of rushes, where only the lane
and passing cows tempered its sourness.
Every summer the hens free-ranged for worms,
scratting the bulbs out, scuffing dust-baths
before their patient resettling,
a back-end ritual ahead of the snows.
They came up year after year, near enough,
the same first-colour splash between stone walls
and cracked fields roughened by winter.
Never the type for dancing, now they squat
in the shade of our robust neglect -
short, tangle-headed, hanging on.
D. A. Prince
If you have any comments on this poem, D. A. Prince would
be pleased to hear from you.