Don’t Ask Me Why

Primrose Farm8

A friend gave an uplifting speech, and I cried
She pondered about reasons,
But don’t ask me why…

Some days you feel flat, totally flat, and happy
as can be, content, in sweet confusing darkness
Don’t ask me why

At times, kneading the bread, feeling the dimpled loaves
While others, daily tasks float far far away…
Don’t ask me why

Watched scientists study animals
Dissect them, chart them, compare them to humans
Exhausted watching this: why, why why…

Little one said a silly word, then repeated,
Then they giggled for hours, then jumped. Because…
They’re teaching me, slowly, to not ask why.


I had been reading poem collections of Hayden Carruth. Much of his writing is realistic, beautiful and quite interesting to read. Never boring. For some reason – Don’t ask me why!!– the following piece stuck with me a few days ago, maybe it is the sweet sarcastic, and so human nature of it that I like. Of hens, idle fantasies and friendships:

I mind a time, 25 years ago, when I was standing in my henhouse watching one of my old ladies lay an egg. Well, she scratched the bedding and turned around four times, then crouched and pushed, and crouched and pushed again, and clucked and turned again, and said — so I could understand — This is one fucking hellova big egg, boss. I sympathized, but urged her on, with thoughts of a great breakfast bubbling in my mind. She crouched and pushed again, a good old girl, until at last she shivered and her comb turned white. An egg dropped into the nest, and her comb turned red again. It was a great egg indeed, a “jumbo” at the IGA without a doubt.

I told Geof about it next day, and he looked skeptically at the sky. Carruth, he said, you’re a crock. Worse, you’re a projector of idle fantasies, and he went home to his own henhouse and watched his young New Hampshire reds lay eggs over and over. Not one white comb, he said, amongst ’em. Geof is a real pal, a true-blue from way back. For 25 years he’s been kidding me about my hen. It ain’t possible, he says, and he lays it on about crazy old men who see hen’s combs turn white in their woolgathering afternoons. I believe he even wrote a poem about it, because he’s a first-rate poet too when it comes to meditating on mundane events. Keep it up, Geof. Don’t stop now. If you do I’ll be hurt and disappointed.

From Toward the Distant Islands: New & Selected Poems
~ By Hayden Carruth


About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone?
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Don’t Ask Me Why

  1. Great shot and article! I guess it’s a day for chickens! I posted something with chickens today too!

  2. bobraxton says:

    white comb

    • BeeHappee says:

      Just couple years ago I was buying eggs from a farmer and asked him about the sizes, so he said that older hens lay larger eggs. I do believe in white combs. 🙂
      But if anyone knows which eggs – small from younger hens or bigger from older hens – taste better or are more nutritious, let me know. We usually get smaller ones.

      • smcasson says:

        There’s no difference in the nutrition by size. There is a difference in whether or not the hen is a good forager. If they eat undyed feed (some feeds have marigold extract to make yolks yellower) then the birds that forage more have darker yolks.

        • BeeHappee says:

          Jesus Scott I did not know that feed can have coloring. … so you cannot trust by yolk color either. Thanks for explanation. I am still leaning toward smaller eggs from younger hens.

          • smcasson says:

            You’re not gonna get too many eggs from truly old girls… Unless they’re pets. Their feed conversion (into eggs) is too low. They start lookin tasty past two years old…

  3. Was over looking in on Eumaeus and now here in on you, and it is strange how similar, if different, your two most recent poems are. like them

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you.
      We are on the same wavelength. 🙂
      Oh I love his writing, some of it I can go back to months later and only then to be able to really pick it up.

  4. There’s a song, by a popular pop group, The Backstreetboys, that has the lyrics “Don’t ask me why” within it. One of our parrots can, among other songs, sing that… including more lyrics within the song. (I don’t even know the lyrics!) Some birds don’t have the brains of chickens, just like we don’t have the brains of monkeys.

    • BeeHappee says:

      🙂 That is funny! My kids would love your parrots. They had been trying to teach the parrots at the Brookfield zoo talk. Maybe I hear that song some place, and “don’t ask me why” was stuck in my head.

      • Brookfield Zoo used to have all kinds of nice parrots and birds. The last time we were there I almost cried. A lot of enclosures were empty. The zoo no longer has a lot of flamingos and creatures roaming outdoors like they used to. One vet, who is no longer with Brookfield, told us that the zoo gave away Hyacinth macaws as gifts to friends. They were going for around 10 grand each at the time. Politics and nepotism!

        • BeeHappee says:

          We had been members of Brookfield zoo for the last 10 years. The bird house has been largely abandoned, yes, enclosures empty. However, in the last 6-8 months they had redone some of the bird exhibits, and are bringing some back. And they just started a new event, Festival of flight, featuring over 20 species of birds from all over the world, including an umbrella cockatoo:
          Yes, we had not enjoyed the commercialization of the zoo, with the carusel, the event shelter for all corporate events and weddings, and all that.. We still love the Australia house, the monkeys, and the childrens zoo house, they have new exploration gardens behind it for kids to garden and pick berries. Last summer kids got to release thousands of ladybugs into the garden. We loved their bug exhibit. The big cats are abandoned and sad looking I think. Baby okapi was recently born there, and that is exciting and rare.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s