This morning while showering a Beth Orton song entered my head and although it remained active and bouncy the entire time it was visiting, I simply could not get it to leave. The song is called “Worms.” The verse that overstayed its welcome went like this:
Chickens don’t fly
But they have got the wings
No matter how hard they try
They bump into things
Then, I began to think about chickens. I thought of another song as well. It’s by the Mountain Goats. The song is called “Dilaudid” and the verse goes like this:
All the chickens come on home to roost
Plump bodies blotting out the sky
You know it breaks my heart in half, in half
When I see them trying to fly
‘Cuz you just can’t do things your body wasn’t meant to
What’s up with songs about chickens? There are a few other chicken songs, too. That little red bastard, the muppet who’s stuck in perpetual state of puberty, sings one about dancing. And I know there was an older song where the guy in the chorus keeps saying. “Ain’t no one here but us chickens. Ain’t no one here at all.” But I think the use of the word “Chicken” in this instance is about being afraid.
I’m sure there are other chicken songs but it’s early and I’ve already thought of four. But I’m not necessarily writing to discuss fowl in songwriting.
You see, in spite of what Ms. Orton and Mr. Darnielle tells us, I happen to know for a fact that some chickens can fly. At least that’s what my cousin told me. And while it was in the form of song, she told me that many times she will go out back to find her chickens and they’re not around. Upon looking a little further, she finds her free-roaming chickens in the trees. She told me about her chickens at least 10 years ago and I still visualize the scenario at least once a year. I picture a backyard with a tire swing. There are a few half-used, waterlogged citronella candles here and there. I picture patches torn throughout the grass introducing dark brown, thick mud. Its dotted with little chicken footprints. I picture two trees: one, is chicken-free, the other dotted with plump, white chickens. I picture them squawking and bitching at her as she takes away their eggs, like a dozen old, cranky toothless men.
So, my question to both Beth and John is this: How did my cousin’s chickens get in that tree?
Edite to add: This post reminded me of this old gem:
The inner mihow really can’t fly.