‘Tis a few weeks before Christmas and all across campus
Students are dragging themselves from exam-to-exam with a look
of beleaguered madness,
Their essays are typed in Times New Roman 12-point font with care,
In hopes they will not be caught in a professor’s crosshairs.
Their parking tickets are nestled all snug in the glovebox,
While days of sleeping-in and nights of Netflix-binges seem closer
than the Chapline Street crosswalk;
Faculty “off-contract” for the holiday break and staff in our jeans,
Have not finished our fall assessments, by any means…
When out in the courtyard there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my office to see what was the matter.
Down the old stairs (with a handy new rail) I walked really slow,
But still much faster than the B & O elevator can go.
The tree on the courtyard twinkled because it gets dark at five o’clock
And ‘Happy Hour’ at Starbucks was calling from just across the block,
But before I made it across, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Thundering Chicken (who looked very sincere),
With a pronounced beak so crooked and orange,
I knew right away this Chicken was not foreign.
Very deliberate, not “running around like his head was cut off,”
He strutted, cock-a-doodle-doo’ed and started calling out students by name:
“Now, Bettie! now, Dara! now, Oscar and Cara!
And you, Monica! and Andrew! And Brandon, Vicki, and Sarah!
To the Service Center! To the front of the line!
Now move it! Today! What are you waiting for…Christmas time?!?”
As the silent halls after the students have gone,
Seem so empty and dark and frowned upon,
So thundered the Chicken as night on the courtyard fell,
With his wings full spread, his chest started to swell.
And then in a flap, I heard on the ground
The scratching and spurring of each long claw.
As I drew in my lip and got turned around,
That Chicken started twerking like Nicki & Nas.
His cape was all ruffled from his comb to his shank,
When he tilted his head, I couldn’t help thinking-How Swank!
A bundle of green cards he had strapped to his back-
He looked just like a carrier pigeon delivering a plan of attack.
His eyes–how they glowed with a laser-like focus
And his hackles bloomed like wild snow-crocus.
His long beak pointed up like the needle of a compass
And his wattle was red, as red as a Starbucks Christmas crumpet
The stump of a pencil he held tight in his beak,
And the lead was dull from overuse all week;
He had a determined strut and a powerful thigh
That tightened up-almost like he could fly.
He was chubby and plump, a right tasty lookin’ Chicken
And I reprimanded myself right away for that kind of thinkin’
A blink of his third eyelid and a twist of his head,
Let me know I was forgiven for picturing him with a side of cornbread
He ruffled some feathers by going straight to his work
Handing out green tickets and saying “Don’t be a jerk…”
And flapping a wing at every student he saw,
He reminded them-semester’s end is no time to hem & haw.
The Thundering Chicken commanded the courtyard all night
Until daybreak, with his green cards all gone,
Away he ran like a large, feathered, advising-phenomenon,
But I heard him crow, ere he flapped and waddled out of sight,
STUDENTS…REGISTER NOW! DO NOT WAIT ONE MORE NIGHT!!!
Merry Christmas Chickens!!