Blue Ribbon at Amesbury

Such a fine pullet ought to go All coiffured to a winter show, And be exhibited, and win. The answer is this one has been—

And come with all her honors home. Her golden leg, her coral comb, Her fluff of plumage, white as chalk, Her style, were all the fancy's talk.

It seems as if you must have heard. She scored an almost perfect bird. In her we*make ourselves acquainted With one a Sewell might have painted.

Here common with the flock again, At home in her abiding pen, She lingers feeding at the trough, The last to let night drive her off.

The one who gave her ankle-band, Her keeper, empty pail in hand, He lingers too, averse to slight His chores for all the wintry night.

He leans against the dusty wall, Immured almost beyond recall, A depth past many swinging doors And many litter-muffled floors.

He meditates the breeder's art. He has a half a mind to start,

With her for Mother Eve, a race That shall all living things displace.

'Tis ritual with her to lay The full six days, then rest a day; At which rate barring broodiness She well may score an egg-success.

The gatherer can always tell

Her well-turned egg's brown sturdy shell,

As safe a vehicle of seed

As is vouchsafed to feathered breed.

No human spectre at the feast Can scant or hurry her the least. She takes her time to take her fill. She whets a sleepy sated bill.

She gropes across the pen alone To peck herself a precious stone. She waters at the patent fount. And so to roost, the last to mount.

The roost is her extent of flight. Yet once she rises to the height, She shoulders with a wing so strong She makes the whole flock move along.

The night is setting in to blow. It scours the windowpane with snow, But barely gets from them or her For comment a complacent chirr.

The lowly pen is yet a hold Against the dark and wind and cold To give a prospect to a plan And warrant prudence in a man.

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