The hen-house

Day 1

Their inane cackle filled the air
While the watch dog lazed,
One curious hen
Out the hen-house gazed

He felt merry, he felt wonder
The world seemed better across the fence
Such was the lure, he hopped out;
Just as the wily fox looked askance

With one swipe, the fox got the hen
And walked away unhurried
While the others in the pen
In alarm watched and worried.

Day 2

The fox, at first cautious,
Into the pen crept
Took away a hen
While the lazy dog slept

Day 3

The fox took two,
With none to hinder his hide,
The hens rushed hither-tither
With no corners to hide

Day 4

The fox came again
With another vulpine friend
More hens died, even more cowered
With no one to defend

Day 5 morn

More four legged ones came
So much noise – the dog raised his head
He growled and rushed, teeth bared
The fox and his friends fled

Day 5 eve:

While the never-watchful dog
As always slept,
The ever-watchful foxes
On him leapt

What struck him, he never knew
Into a deeper slumber, as he went.

Day 6

The farmer got a new dog –
Alert, brave, strong, big-size
The farmer knew not, but the foxes did
That his vice began with avarice

Loyalty warred with want – of a free prize
Why work so hard to defend the pen?

Day 7

The foxes came, and left with hens
Left the dog his share of the pen

Day 21

The number of hens went down to half
Then the farmer sat up and looked;
He saw all – the hens’ fear, the foxes’ laugh

The undutiful dog’s surplus food

He raised the bar, electrified the fence
Thrashed the dog to within an inch of his life
He told the hunters about the foxes.
A constant battle is rife

Between man and fox, of might and wit
The man be the judiciary,
The watch-dog, law enforcers,
The foxes be the con-men

The helpless, soft targets here
Are the hens – the common men.

Unless hens evolve, to fight the fox
No recluse have they in store;
For, for a man, what cost is it
To lose a hen or more?

Smrithi Murthy (MRDG)


About The Voices team

Like it says, The Voices team, IISc, Bengaluru, India

Posted on March 29, 2011, in Regular issues and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Excellent piece of work …Every word penned down seems to be straight from the heart.

  2. Beautifully written….well done!

  3. @ Vinay: thank you! Was inspired by the scams – realised that giving scamsters ministry posts is like making the fox guard the henhouse.

  4. wonderful poem! and with so much meaning attached to it! bravo! very well written Smrithi

  5. @Shubhendu, @Tanay: Thank you! It was straight from the heart..

  6. This is a great piece of metaphorical poetry! Keep it up!

  7. Aha!…a very nice read indeed! Absolutely adored the way it matured towards the end.

  8. @ Arun, @ Sujit: Thank you!

  9. Absolutely stunning .. the poem itself and the analogy 🙂
    Great one!

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