Sunday, March 02, 2008

Neck (Revised)

Neck

It was at Sarimbun scout camp,
where forty years ago the Japanese divisions landed,
where I killed a chicken
with my bare hands.

I grabbed the hen by the neck,
under the feathers tubular
like a stethoscope,
swung the feathered globe around and with a wrist flick snapped it to the ground.

The hen squawked, scrabbled in circles, and shat.
Only mine got up,
not the others
at the pit fires of Kestrel, Eagle, Merlin, Falcon, Hawk.

My patrol watching me, I grabbed the hen again
and this time did my job as a patrol leader should.
Someone else plucked the bird in hot water.
We baked it in mud, ate it with salt, and pronounced it good.

3 comments:

Eshuneutics said...

A luxurient memory. Blessed be the Scouts for they knew how to make real men :)The rhyme between "should" and "good" neatly undercuts the conclusion: a too simple summation against continual hints of brutality-- the Japanese war machine and the raptor Scouts...and the connection between hen and being chicken/coward. It functions well as a poem.

Shropshirelad said...

I like how you begin to marshal yourself to the performance of your duties as patrol leader by ticking off the names of the other patrols in the last line of stanza 3.

Concluding, of course, with Hawk. Nice touch.

Cool poem.

Jee Leong Koh said...

You read my mind, eshun.

Cool, shropshirelad.