The Boss’s Hens


Flecks of sawdust began to fall,
As we fed the pet rabbits, their lettuce,
Through the wire mesh of the hutch,
That rested up against the backyard wall.

The quarried tiles were soon covered with dust,
That swirled with the wind,
And mixed with the soot,
That fell like thick black flakes,
Of gritty snow,
To speckle the starched washing,
On the line below.

Then with necks bent,
And backs arched,
we pedalled our bikes across the park,
To the boss’s house,
Climbing Mossley Hill, so steep,
My legs burned up inside.

It floated in the woods,
Above the grime,
At the end of a Snaking drive,
Lined by trees that obscured the views,
Of the boss’s mansion,
That seemed so huge,
With its prospect tower,
And its stained glass porch,
Its striped lawns…..
And a summer house!
Made from carved wooden boards.
There were even peaches,
Growing in the radiant warmth,
Up against the kitchen garden walls,
That nurtured an organic vegetable patch,
Through which the boss’s chickens,
Were free to roam and scratch.

Blue silkies in their fluffy feathery frocks,
Searched for worms…..
alongside White Leghorns and Wyandotes,
Selected breeds and Rhode Island Reds,
All pecked for seeds amongst the flower beds.

As we went about our daily chores,
Of mucking out the stables,
And the chicken manure,
we probed with our fingers,
Through the sweet smelling hay,
For the bronzed, speckled eggs,
That the boss’s hens had secreted away,
Hoping to take some with us……
At the end of the boss’s day.


By Terry Clarke