Not long ago in a garden in France
A dusty and dirty and barren expanse
Next to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Spain
Lived three hens; one clever, one stupid, one vain.
These hens grew nervous as Christmas drew near
Their fate at the table an annual fear
They all agreed that the tension’s main source
Was not knowing who would be that year’s main course
For each year the farmer selects only one,
To be slaughtered, and butchered, and cooked by his son
The clever, noting this habit entrenched
suggested (though obviously in French)
That each of the chickens should draw out straw
So they could decide who’d be taken before.
Vain drew the short one; consigned to her fate.
She resolved to look her best for the plate
For Vain had come across human magazines
and knew that a key part of all haute cuisine
essential and critical was presentation;
aesthetic perfection was her aspiration.
The first step to look good was always ‘lose weight’
(with less of you there there’s less for them to hate).
Discarding glasses was tip number three
(if you think you look good, you don’t need to see.)
‘Have flesh on show’ advised point number four
(unless you have weight on; then you’re a whore)
As physical changes wracked the vain chicken
the plot, and the vegetable gravy, did thicken
although the hen could a four-inch waist boast
Twas agreed that she’d make a terrible roast
The famer and wife did confer with their son
About what they could cook, what should be done.
The stupid was served, and clever as well
two French hens fried, with a sauce Béchamel.