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THE CROSS­ING
with apolo­gies to Theodore Roethke

I cross the street, and try not to be slow.
I am a chicken with a chicken’s fear.
The farmer ate my mother. Time to go.

We live by run­ning. What is there to know?
They seized my mom and cut her ear to ear.
I cross the street, and try not to be slow.

Of those who guard the hen­house, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall run swiftly there.
The farmer ate my mother. Time to go.

We yearn to flee; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm and I make quite a pair.
I cross the street, and try not to be slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; but slaugh­ter is not fair.
The farmer ate my mother. Time to go.

This run­ning makes me ner­vous. I should know.
What roasts my skin is always. And is near.
I cross the street, and try not to be slow.
The farmer ate my mother. Time to go.



villanellesbookcover(orig­i­nally pub­lished in Vil­lanelles — Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets. This poem is meant to stand on its own, but is also a par­ody of Theodore Roethke’s “The Wak­ing”, which can be found here)