“The Magic of Mother Carey’s Chickens”

I stand
on the bow of the ship.
The wind cleanses my face
but the rain
does not dilute
the pain in my heart.

A minor storm
on the weather chart
it rages
as a major assault
on the nucleus
of my being.

She is gone.
Taking with her
the light of my existence
and leaving in its place
rampant despair.

I lean over the rail
and watch the waves part
as the ship
reconfigures the sea.
Her face
taunts me.
I lean further forward.

The ker-chick
ker-chick of storm petrels,
Mother Carey’s Chickens,
disrupts my self-indulgence.
In the middle of the ocean.

I watch as they tap dance
on the surface of the sea
and duck to pluck
their prey
from under their feet.

I pull back.
If they can endure
the lack of land
to nourish them
then I can survive
the loss of love
to sustain me.

I return to my cabin
cleansed by the wind on my face
and flushed free
of the pain in my heart.

(Written for dVerse, Open Link Night #146, April 9, 2015.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to “The Magic of Mother Carey’s Chickens”

  1. Mary says:

    Quite poignant, though I am not sure I understand everything about the chickens. Perhaps I missed something in the reading. But I GET that if the chickens can survive without land that then the narrator can survive without love. Both are difficult….but, I hope not impossible.

    • vbholmes says:

      “Mother Carey’s Chickens” is another name for the storm petrel which comes to land only to breed and raise its young. Its appearance near a ship at sea is/was believed to signal an upcoming storm. Also I made an error in calling them “Mrs.” Carey’s Chickens–they are “Mother” Carey’s Chickens.

  2. Gabriella says:

    This is a very moving piece. I want to know more about the narrator, and about the woman who has only left ‘rampant despair’ behind her.

  3. Grace says:

    I like the lesson from nature, birds enduring the lack of land and surviving ~ The turn of pain & disappointment to one of hope in the end, makes this a good read ~ Thanks for sharing ~

  4. claudia says:

    now those chicken turned up just in the right moment… it is amazing how soothing nature can talk to us in painful moments

  5. The petrels sustaining a life on the sea is a powerful parallel of a life without love. I can imagine a passenger on a cruise ship gaining strength to sustain in your words.

  6. I pull back.
    If they can endure
    the lack of land
    to nourish them
    then I can survive
    the loss of love
    to sustain me.

    Love that… so much meaning in held that simple stanza.

    yes, if they can survive, so can you… Love this poem

  7. The storm of love precedes the spirit of the heart and soul that continues to ride the oceans of love.. in calm and tremendous waves of the spirit of life.. as she blows her living breath.. to feel the sales of hearts and souls expressed.. with no living price of unconditional LOVE..:)

  8. I love the tap dance on the surface of the sea. Voyages were long and usually separated lovers and husbands from wives. But, for this young man, it all seems so hopeless. Nature can certainly cast its magic spell, often at the right times. The title is fitting.

    • vbholmes says:

      You’re right, Lynne–it’s hard for us to realize that voyages used to take weeks, and sometimes, months. Hopefully, Mother Carey’s chickens have given our hero new hope and he’ll stay away from the ship’s railing. Thanks for stopping by.

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