A chicken beacon isn't important,
    really, unless you're a chicken.
    Say you are one, though, and you're out
    after dark. You chased
    a butterfly into the woods
    and got lost. Or, you got old,
    too tough to eat,
    and somebody dropped you off
    in the country. Or you're just a poor,
    wayfaring chicken, who thought there was time
    to reach the next farm.

    Whatever kind you are, you've gone against
    the First Chicken Law;
    Huddle before dark.
    Now, all you can do
    is fly up on a tree branch and hope
    for the sun. But even up there, with your head under your wing, it's scarey,
    because there are chicken killers
    that climb and some that fly.
    It's impossible to sleep.

    So, if a farmer owns
    a chicken beacon and hangs it outside
    his chicken house, you appreciate it. In the tree,
    changing wings for the hundredth
    time, you see the light
    from the chicken beacon. Why not try it, you say--
    anything's better than this.
    You flap into the dark, running,
    wings working hard,
    before you reach the ground.

    The chicken beacon looks farther away.
    You hear the foxes' confidant
    feet, the owls leisurely
    wings, coming toward you
    from all directions. You know
    the door will be locked when you get there,
    but someone may hear you, squawking,
    your claws and beak beating
    at the padlocked door.
    maybe not. right now, the light,
    the chicken beacon, is something to run for.

    Clear DotBy Richard McMullen

    Photo by Jerome Whittingham - used with permission from:

Chicken in a tree


Fall and Winter, 2008
"Gathering Leaves" by Robert Frost

Spring and Summer, 2008
"The Rose Family" by Robert Frost

Fall and Winter, 2007
"On the Grasshopper and Cricket" by John Keats

Spring and Summer, 2007
"My Mother's Garden" by Alice E. Allen

Winter, 2006
"Crocus" by Alfred Kreymborg

Fall, 2006
"The Autumn" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Spring & Summer, 2006
"A Considerable Speck" by Robert Frost

Fall & Winter, 2005
"When the Frost is on the Punkin" by James Whitcomb Riley

Summer, 2005
"To a Butterfly" by William Wordsworth

Winter, 2004 and Spring 2005
"Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost

Summer and Fall, 2004
"Who Loves a Garden" by Louise Seymour Jones

Spring, 2004
"Mending Wall" by Robert Frost

Winter, 2003
"Last Roses" by Denise Oliver-Velez

Fall, 2003
"Robin Redbreast" by William Allingham

Summer, 2003
"My Garden" by Thomas Edwin Brown

Spring, 2003
"Reverie" by Robert B. Martin, Jr.

Winter, 2002
"Written in March" by William Wordsworth

Fall, 2002
"October's Bright Blue Weather" by Helen Hunt Jackson

Spring and Summer, 2002
"A Passing Glimpse" by Robert Frost

Winter, 2001
"Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost

Summer, 2001
"Memory" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Winter, 2000
"The Heart of the Tree" by Henry Cuyler Bunner

Summer, 2000
"Red Geraniums" by Martha Haskell Clark

Spring, 2000
"Immortality" by Joseph Jefferson

Winter, 1999
"Everest" by Eunice Tietjens

Fall, 1999
"Tree at my Window" by Robert Frost

Summer, 1999
"Climb The Mountains" by John Muir

Spring, 1999
"The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall" by A.L. Frink

Winter, 1998
"The Runaway" by Robert Frost

Fall, 1998
"Hope" by Emily Dickinson

Summer, 1998
"A Patch of Roses" by Gail Lemnah Barnett

Spring, 1998
"Song of the River" by William Randolph Hearst

January, 1998
"Birches" by Robert Frost

November and December, 1997
"One Last Rose" by Gail Lemnah Barnett

October, 1997
"Far From the Madding Crowd" by Nixon Waterman

September, 1997
"Kiss From a Rose" by Seal, from the Album: "Seal"

August, 1997
"Summer Rose Saga" by Gail Lemnah Barnett

July, 1997
"A Bird Came Down the Walk" by Emily Dickinson

June, 1997
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

May, 1997
"The Path That Leads to Nowhere" by Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

April, 1997
"The Firefly" by Jane Stuart

March, 1997
"Plant a Tree" by Lucy Larcom

February, 1997
"The Daffodils" by William Wordsworth

January, 1997
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

December, 1996
"Wintering Rosarians" by Gail Lemnah Barnett

November, 1996
"'Tis the Last Rose of Summer" by Thomas Moore

October, 1996
"Autumn Chant" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

September, 1996
"The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop

August, 1996
"Departmental" by Robert Frost

July, 1996
"City Flies" by Alan Van Dine

June, 1996
"My Neighbor's Roses" by A.L. Gruber

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