Peggotty #poetry #poem

My name’s Peggotty:
hen-pecked, hothoused
housed in a whorehouse
harem of hens hasped
within the clasp of a coop.

I am Peggotty, speckled hen I
lay speckled eggs for the
convenience of your
conspicuous consumption
-keep ’em coming.

You cut my beak, but you
can’t have been afraid
that I would speak, I
don’t have a voice you see
except to say:

Cluck, cluck, cluck!
Why don’t you give a…
cluck about me? This isn’t
what life is meant to be
I don’t have any concept

of life, or even death
only bodies, packed tightly,
we peck ourselves, fight
beakfull of feathers
finding flesh which you

buy so cheaply, I cannot
imagine another life
but somehow I know this
is wrong, even the threat
of the fox would be better

than being cooped up
here getting fatter and
fatter, and laying more
eggs till the time comes
to slaugher, a snap

of the neck oughta
do it, and then I’ll
be outta here, outta
the hen-house and straight
up not to heaven

but rather, out there
where you are, and one
day, you will be me,
pecking desperation
out of your fellow fowl

while I strut patrician-
like, outside the coup
marking my clipboard
with profit margins
throwing kernels

of golden corn
for shareholders
for in the end,
that’s all we are
and all there ever is.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

Written for Earthweal

For this week’s challenge ‘The Animal Gaze,’ Brendan has asked us to consider the following:

‘What are animals looking for? What are they seeing? That’s the essence of this week’s challenge, THE ANIMAL GAZE. Tell us of your encounters with that gaze. What do we share with that gaze, how do we differ? How can we understand it, considered in the marbled and congealed in masses of neurocortical fibers and dense clusters of culture and language and all-too-habitual mastery? And what does that gaze read in us?’

I’ve read two excellent and thought-provoking poems on the subject of hens recently: ‘Oprah Among The Chickens‘ by Jim Feeney and ‘The Rescue Chicken‘ by Kim Whysall-Hammond. When I read Brendan’s prompt, I decided to add my voice on this subject, speaking through Peggotty of course.

I am not opposed to the eating of animals or animal products per se, but rather the way we treat animals as commodities and have lost all sense of balance in our dealings with the animal kingdom.

45 thoughts on “Peggotty #poetry #poem

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      1. We used to have chickens, They went to bed in a coop (of their own volition) but by day, roamed the garden. One egg from each most days. Happy times. Could never have fattened/killed/eaten.

  1. This is a topic that really impacts me – the brutal treatment of animals in the “animal agriculture” industry. We have strayed so far from small farms that it is a dystopian nightmare. Horrifying that humans feel this is okay. I like the way you reverse the situation to unforeseen days ahead when we will be the ones scrabbling for subsistence. Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation. I loved the not giving a cluck!

    1. I think most of us just choose to look the other way. If we actually saw what goes on in these places maybe we would start giving a cluck!

  2. Awesome write and so true. I remember seeing that film “Baraka” right around the time I’d gone vegan for a bit, instead of just vegetarian (didn’t sustain it over the years, sadly, though I still avoid meat and buy free-range eggs, though who really knows if they are, unless they’re from a nearby visible farm) — really brought the brutality of factory farming home. Good poem to raise awareness, Ingrid.💛

      1. I can imagine. I know there are certain regulations here about calling eggs “free run” (concrete room without cages I believe, but still packed tightly, if I’m write) vs “free range” (which usually means muddy outdoor courtyard, if memory serves me well)… but marketing can devolve many mild protections.

  3. Living in a county where chickens and turkeys are widely bred, some in horrible conditions, your poem resonates with me, Ingrid. But we also have an animal friendly place nearby where the animals are treated kindly, there are the most amazing breeds, and children learn about animals and their welfare. My neighbours have chickens that are also well looked after. I’m surprised the animal liberation front haven’t been round to set Peggotty free! What an apt phrase ‘harem of hens hasped / within the clasp of a coop’. I haven’t eaten chicken or any other meat for a very long time.

    1. Did you hear about the ‘happy egg’ scandal? This really annoyed me because I think people do care and that’s why they pay a premium for free range. But it seems like free range is not all it seems.

    1. It’s obvious they are suffering when they peck one another until they remove the feathers. It’s so lovely to see them running around the farm and my kids love it too!

  4. My Wenny Henny comes to bed with me each night. Leaves me an egg for my breakfast each morning. Isn’t she nice? Then goes to the garden to do her business. How thoughtful of her?

    Oh? I’m meant to be commenting on your poem? Sorry Ingrid.

    Seriously I thought it was a very good write. I don’t know why people continue to buy cage eggs when for just a bit more you can get free range.

    PS If you can’t see this we might have been kicked into your spam folder. Check this. Wenny would be most disappointed if you didn’t know about her……

  5. What I wonder reflects in the gaze of those manufactured birds. Me of course. Clucking at the murder of animals while I tear into my anonymous eggs. Well done Ingrid –

  6. Oh it started out so cute and then cut to the heart of the matter. I only eat chickens that wear “tennis shoes” roaming freely and would love them for pets and eggs but they would be dinner for the coyotes here. Great job with this. such atrocities and love the turn around at the end!!!! Great job Ingrid. 💖💖

  7. This is quite a hen song, really powerful because we do treat these conscious creatures so badly in factory farming and you convey the voice so well. Have just enjoyed seeing you and Benji on the Dverse You Tube. It was wonderful to listen and see you all rather than just read the poems! Benji was great too and looks ready to follow in your footsteps.

  8. You capture the cruel plight of battery hens very well. I feel so sorry for these birds. I don’t eat eggs myself but I know many do. I wish they would buy free range eggs.

    1. Even free range is not always what it seems. I am lucky to be able to buy eggs from a local farm. Anything from the supermarket I wouldn’t trust!

  9. You gave them voice. I love the alliteration and sentiment. The picture looks like computer generated magic art. You may have inspired me to write about my chickens. They are mostly free range!

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