ChampionFeatherleg.jpgTrouvée

Oh, why should a hen
have been run over
on West 4th Street
in the middle of summer?

She was a white hen
--red-and-white now, of course.
How did she get there?
Where was she going?

Her wing feathers spread
flat, flat in the tar,
all dirtied, and thin
as tissue paper.

A pigeon, yes,
or an English sparrow,
might meet such a fate,
but not that poor fowl.

Just now I went back
to look again.
I hadn't dreamed it:
there is a hen

turned into a quaint
old country saying
scribbled in chalk
(except for the beak).


Once again we see vivid imagery in a poem that can’t mean anything other than what you see at first glance The title in English means found. Elizabeth Bishop probably passed a hen run over on the road, and pondered why it should be there. Why should a hen be anywhere but in a farmyard laying her eggs or pecking at feed?