Farm Collector


R. D. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin

If you are a Steam Engine Brother
While narrating something or other
I’ll put down a generous slice
Of wifely and loving advice;
Steam engines and good laying chickens
Are chummy as Hitler and Dickens
I’ll tell you in verse if I can
How one day my big Farmer Man
Built up loads of powerful steam
‘Til pressure was threatening each steam,
Took me for a ride on his PET,
Blew the whistle I’ll never forget.
Rushing home from their school came our crew:
They RODE, and the whistle they BLEW,
‘Til the neighbors I’m reasonably sure
Were in search of an ultimate cure
For such brainless and childish neighbors
As these questionable, steam-enthused Babers.
In for supper they trooped and were fed:
Then the barn: but I ambled instead
Down the path to the brooder house where
Cherished chickens were under my care.
OH!!! THE HORRIBLE SIGHT!!! Who can tell it,
My poor flock, on that day, what be-fell it?
From the heap of the ill-fated dead
Was wan peeping, and one straining head;
Underneath it I plainly could see
Were the bodies of just fifty-three
In panic they’d fled from the shrieks
Too awful for chix of six weeks.
With a wail to my Farmer I flew,
In one moment my anguish he knew,
And his face turned quite ashen and sick
As he said ‘Help me bury them quick!’
Put them all in one oversized pail
Then my stupidness won’t quite assail.
Me so grimly while digging a hole
To erase this ridiculous toll!
EDGEWOOD ACRES was quiet I’d say
For the rest of that fateful spring day
And with humble and quiet mature looks
Wiser children sat down with their books.
Then at bed-time the question came through
‘Can you love me when dumb things I do?’
And he learned that love still grows and thickens
To be bigger than fifty-three chickens,
But the chicks that survived that grim day
Only half of them ever did lay.

  • Published on May 1, 1959
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