Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"There is a Side to the Chicken-Human Relationship that is Deep and Quite Serious," Says POET OF THE MONTH Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin

Monday, January 17, 2011
Hello Jeannette, I'm still snowed in, but at last the snow is melting. Please send more poems, any other info, and another photo if you wish. --Nancy Simpson
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Ok, sure thing. I"m attaching a shaped poem: I hope you can do this on the blog. It is going to be in the forthcoming Spring edition of the Great Smokies Review, published by UNCA. It's a poem that is part of my new project, which is writing an entire chapbook about my chickens. This makes people laugh when I tell them but actually there is a side to the chicken-human relationship that is deep and quite serious ... the attached poem touches on this. 















One Thing
At Zipingpu Ferry,
the news photographer snapped
them escaping the earthquake in Sichuan:
the man with a face you long to turn away from,
a landscape seared and flooded with grief. He’s wailing
some words you in your safe house cannot think of, the dirty
 jacket he’s wearing is all he brought away, except for the girlchild
asleep on his breast. Her face, though streaked with grime, is cherubic,
the cheek sweet as a cup of milk and you thank Heaven she has at last,
exhausted,  turned her back on the broken world.  The smooth and
central magic of the picture – of our world – is in the delicate cup
of her hand: a blush- brown egg — the one thing she has
held onto, even in sleep.   Its weight and curve are a
 world still unbroken,  where plenty was daily,
nested safe in her pocket.  Now it’s a meal
or a memory or – if she can keep it
warm enough long enough –
a future


-- Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin

(In Dujiangyan, a hard-hit city, right, a girl held an egg as her father carried her to safety.)






Here is a link to where readers can see the photo it describes:
My future son-in-law Zao Wang sent me the link to the photo; he was actually in China working on a documentary about the earthquake relief efforts when he ran across it. 


TWO ADDITIONAL POEMS 
I also have a pair of little poems which are unpublished, that are part of the same project.
 --Jeannette-Cabanis-Brewin
Hen
Still as an egg she broods
over her future
and mine:
the embryonic breakfasts
of the years to come and oh -
so much more - the delight
of chicks toddling tiptoe,
tiny winglets outstretched.
The ancient history we share
brims in her goldeneye
as she regards me in silence
and waits. Will there be
a new world?
Egg
So true and constant 
a shape it means the word
for itself: ovoid.
So inert, in ranks of twelve
like the disciples asleep
on the ground all night
at Gethsemane.
So silent, and very like
a rock. Except
one morning, broken -
and here is a being
perfect and light.
                                - Easter, 2009

7 comments:

Joan Ellen Gage said...

These poems touch and amaze me--the child with the treasure in her hand, the ancient link between human and hen.
I must tell my friend, Elisa, the chicken goddess of this poet.

Nancy Simpson said...

Hello Joan Ellen. I agree 100 %. I can't get that little girl with the egg in her hand out of my mind.

Glenda Beall said...

Jeannette, I love your poems and look forward to your chapbook all based on your chickens. They fascinate me - the birds and your poems. I hope you will come over and do a reading in our little part of the world one day soon.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Nancy,
I'm so glad you posted Jeannette's poetry about chickens. I loved these poems and I'm glad she's doing a book on this subject. How lovely.

Anonymous said...

I just want to give credit where it is due ... the photo shows my favorite hen, Fanny, with her first chick on its first day. This was Easter morning in 2009 - the chick was a hen and I named her Pascaline. Fanny is a wonderful mother and has raised up 3 broods of chicks in the past two years.
--this is Jeannette speaking ... for some reason Google isn't recognizing my account today! go figure.

Nancy Simpson said...

Hello Jeannette, Thanks so much for sharing your poems and photos. There has been a lot of talk about your poems and much enjoyment.

Carole Richard Thompson said...

The 3 poems Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin wrote about the chicken-human relationship were especially meaningful for me. Twice during my long marriage, I lived where I could keep chickens, and I loved it. It was fascinating hatching chicks in my little incubator; actually watching them develop from a tiny spot of blood attached to the yolk, to a living, breathing new life. I talked to them and sang to them. Now my daughter has chickens and guineas, and they all love her and she loves them. That's my gene.
Thanks for sharing those wonderful poems. Carole