The Mother Hen

The Mother Hen

Oh! What a worrit!
All these chicks
to cherish and protect—
can’t shut an eye
even for a moment!
That one strays too far,
those two big ones quarrel,
and this tiny one isn’t strong.
I should like to keep them always under my wings,
but they must learn how to live.
That dreadful cat!
Never trust a cat!
And all those feet
tramping round my brood.
Beware! Hen pecks!
I’m going to lose my temper!
my heart is so choked
with loving care
how can I say


from Prayers from the Ark and The Creatures’ Choir by Carmen Bernos De Gasztold translated by Rumer Godden

I am adoring this little book of poetry. All the poems are just beautiful. But this one most speaks to my heart because it so well describes me.

In her foreward Godden says, “These poems are prayers, Catholic in origin but catholic also in the sense that they are for everyone, no matter of what creed.” She adds, explaining what a prayer must be—if it is to have any meaning:

. . . not something dreamy or wishful, not a cry to be used in emergency, not even a plea, and not necessarily comforting. A prayer is a giving out, an offering, compounded of honest work and acceptance of the shape in which one has been created—even if it is to be regretted as much as the monkey’s—of those humble things added to the great three, faith, hope, and love.

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