This week’s cue word is Eternal.
The hen that came down a beanstalk
Jack is dead, oh, eternal be his memory –
Yet I have no time for his eulogy, as I clamber down this bristling stalk,
Over leaves as long as surfboards, over beans as big as basketballs,
Down, down, to meet my new horizon which shimmers with a hope
That I may return to a coop of my own.
Down I climb to claim this liberty, but – curses – that ogre is after me;
Bigger than me, bolder, brasher, brawnier, broiling with anger and betrayal and
“Get back ‘ere!” the ogre screams.
Frightened, frantic, faster and faster down the beanstalk I scarper,
While above me the ogre booms down oaths of murderous revenge:
The rain is his sweat, the wind is his breath, thunderbolts his words,
Flies and mosquitoes his crumbs of bread…
Broken from the bones of Englishmen like Jack.
Down, down, about to touch the ground, and there at the foot of the beanstalk stands
Jack’s mother – her each axe-chop a strike for Jack (oh, eternal be his memory) …
Chop… chop… chop… and at last the beanstalk topples, and with it the ogre
Who breaks his neck as easily as once he broke his bread.
Jack’s mother, she scoops me up and cradles me with more love
Than I had ever thought possible could exist; and for this, tomorrow,
After resting, and mending my wings and bruised beak,
I will lay for her a golden egg, as she puts on black robes for the eternal memory
Of her son, brave Jack, who set me free from a castle in the sky.