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