Rubaiyat of a Rhode Island Red

rhodeislandred-web-2Found — a  handwritten poem in a reprint of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, a parody on the theme of chickens. It probably dates from the 1920s. There are  1000s of such tribute/ parodies, many published. This appears completely unknown …

Rubaiyat of a Rhode Island Red

Awake, for morning through the roosting shed

Has stained the dusty windows gold and red;

The weary toiler of a thousand fields

Will soon be climbing from his downy bed!

Awake! The silver buckets of the day

Are clanking and the corn is on the way – 

The early worm creeps but a laggard inch,

And lo! The bird espies her prey.

‘Neath that inverted box they call a coop 

There sits the broody with her little troop:

For them what fortune calls – the plucking shed,

The Palace – or the haying test – or Roup?

(The Palace = a famous poultry show – Roup = a disease)

The fluffy chick men set their hearts upon

Is dead-in-shell – or hatches, and anon

After a fleeting week of hopes and fears

Turns toes up in the Brooder, and is gone:

And those who gave the chicks too little grain,

And those who flung it down like golden rain,

Alike must lay the corpses underground

which, buried once, the dog digs up again.

Some Rhodes we loved, the cluckiest and the best

That ever sat a perch or graced a nest,

Laid their last eggs a month or two agony,

And sank (but not so silently) to rest.

I sometimes think that never glows so red

The comb as where Spratt’s Laying Meal is fed,

That every pallid crest the farmyard bears

Is simply due to using Blank’s instead:

And that immortal orb whose golden shell

Holds all the wonder of the ages – well –

How runs the riddle? Was the egg the first,

Or was the layer? Ah, who knows, who knows?

Ah, with the vitamin my life favouride,

And pluck my  body whence the life had died,

And we may meet – if I am not too tough,

Once more upon thy board at Christmastide. 

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