To George Barker
Among the poets
revolving in the battery
grabbing frantic pecks of
food as they passed the hoppers
was one particularly battered specimen
that had managed not only to rub off most of its feathers
but somehow to half skin itself as well,
and it drooped as it stood there on matchstick legs
and round and round and round,
and round and round,
its raw little elbow wings a joke –
you could tell by the look in its eye.
And on the rack in front of it lay
a large brown poem.
They only kept it out of sentiment of course:
all the others produced well-written eggs.