The Battery Hen

Oh. I am a battery hen, 
On me back there’s not a germ, 
I never scratched a farmyard, 
And I never pecked a worm, 
I never had the sunshine, 
To warm me feathers through, 
Eggs I lay. Every day. 
For the likes of you. 
When you has them scrambled, 
Piled up on your plate, 
It’s me what you should thank for that, 
I never lays them late, 
I always lays them reg’lar, 
I always lays them right, 
I never lays them brown, 
I always lays them white. 
But it’s no life, for a battery hen, 
In me box I’m sat, 
A funnel stuck out from the side, 
Me pellets comes down that, 
I gets a squirt of water, 
Every half a day, 
Watchin‘ with me beady eye, 
Me eggs, roll away. 
I lays them in a funnel, 
Strategically placed, 
So that I don’t kick ‘em, 
And let them go to waste, 
They rolls off down the tubing, 
And up the gangway quick, 
Sometimes I gets to thinkin 
“That could have been a chick!” 
I might have been a farmyard hen, 
Scratchin‘ in the sun, 
There might have been a crowd of chicks, 
After me to run, 
There might have been a cockerel fine, 
To pay us his respects, 
Instead of sittin‘ here, 
Till someone comes and wrings our necks. 
I see the Time and Motion clock, 
Is sayin‘ nearly noon, 
I ‘spec me squirt of water, 
Will come flyin‘ at me soon, 
And then me spray of pellets, 
Will nearly break me leg, 
And I’ll bite the wire nettin 
And lay one more bloody egg. 

Reproduced by kind permission of the BBC for the BBC 100 collection and with kind permission of Pam Ayres.

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.