Chicken and Egg Poem

I may be hatching a chicken collection.
The most recent addition, a pair of hens.
They are palm-sized paperweights, made in China,
heavy bronze.

I place them near porcelain biddies from Spain.
Salt and peppers I’d forgotten till now, one black
speckled white, one white speckled black.
They nestle next to a milk glass basket, someday
collectible, meant for Easter egg gathering.

In a 1945 photo treasured by my mother,
I am helmeted in beige wool, wobbling
my two-year old way uphill. More chubby head
than trunk, fat fingers clasping an egg.

Grinning, despite the doting photographer
who interrupts this transport of seamless
porcelain cargo from barn to veranda,
this holy mission.

Two’s too young to suspect I’ll walk urban pathways
all my life. No barn, no veranda, just endless rounds
of mall Safeways. Bits of birds plucked clean.

Too young to believe I’ll grow up haunting
gift shops. Browsing rows of cold, carved
monuments, for hints of combs and tails.

~ Myrna Garanis

Myrna Garanis migrated to Edmonton over 40 years ago from rural Saskatchewan. Her work appears in seventeen print anthologies, including Eyeing the Magpie; Writing the Land: Alberta through its Poets; and Reading the River: A Traveller’s Companion to the North Saskatchewan River. A founding member of the Edmonton Stroll of Poets Society, she is a long-term member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, and an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets.

“I haven’t seen any need to veer from Robert Frost’s definition: ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.’ ‘Chicken and Egg’ evolved from the photograph described within the poem. It appears in a manuscript of shelter poems that contemplate what it means to come in from the cold.

Read more of Myrna Garanis’s poetry:
losing Banff
high crime

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

Leave a Reply