Bruce Bennett

The Fox and the Chickens


“We’ll let him in,” a chicken said,

“And then we’ll bash him on the head.

We’ll all swoop down on the attack.

We’ll peck his eyes, and slash his back.”


“But once he’s in,”—another spoke—

“won’t he make mincemeat of our folk?

We need to keep him out with locks.

We can’t give entrance to a fox.”


“Let’s bargain with him,” clucked a third.

“I know a most trustworthy bird

who will impart our wish for peace.

Let’s make this horrid conflict cease . . . .”


The fox, meanwhile, eavesdropping near,

was pleased as Punch, since it was clear

the chickens, left to their devices,

would find no answer to their crisis.


The fox, however, did not see

the farmer, standing by a tree,

who drew a bead, and shot him dead.


“Hey, what was that?” a chicken said.


      Moral:  Don’t count on Divine

Intervention, but there may be no

other solution.





      A magician pulled

a rabbit out of a hat.


      “Any magician can

do that,” a spectator



      “Ah yes,” said the

magician. “But can any

magician do this?”


      He waved his hands

three times toward the

man, and muttered

some words.


      Immediately, the

man turned into a rabbit.


      The magician left

the stage and picked up

the quivering rabbit.


      He returned to the

stage, lifted the first rabbit

by its ears, and, with one

deft motion, using a knife

he had made appear in the

air, slit its throat.


      Then he stuffed the

spectator-rabbit into the hat.


      “Ladies and gentleman,”

he announced in his best

magician’s voice. “I have

been performing for many

years. I have traveled the

world, going places and

doing things you can scarcely



      He bowed to the audience

with a flourish.


      “And not once have I

run out of rabbits.”


      Moral:  There are magicians

and magicians.


Bruce Bennett is the author of nine books of poetry and more than two dozen poetry chapbooks. Recent chapbooks include The Wither’d Sedge (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Swimming in a Watering Can (FootHills Publishing, 2014). He was awarded a Pushcart Prize in 2012. In June 2014 he retired from teaching at Wells College and is now Professor Emeritus of English. In July 2015 he received the first annual Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing. Poems of his have appeared recently in Stone Canoe, Light, The Healing Muse, Tar River Poetry, Think, and Able Muse.



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