Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Hen's Complaint

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Beside an incubator stood
The would-be mother of a brood.


With drooping wings and nodding head,
These are the clucked-out words she said:


"O, vile invention of the age,
You fill me with a burning rage!


Unfeeling monster, moved by steam,
You rob me of life's sweetest dream!


Deprived of offspring which I crave,
I must go childless to my grave.


My aching wings which long to cover
A chirping brood of nestlings over,


No more may know that comfort sweet,
Since chickens may be hatched by heat.


Three weeks of quiet expectation
(Full many a flighty hen's salvation)


I am denied, for now men say
A hen should be content to lay,


And furnish eggs to incubate,
And setting hens are out of date.


Alas, for such a cruel fashion--"
The angry fowl paused, choked with passion,


While from behind a strong hand caught her
And doused her in a tub of water.

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox