Some time ago, we decided to do the ethically kind thing and provide a home for six “rescue hens” (measure 1 – 8, noble intentions): chickens that had passed most of their lives in small cages. I fenced in our backyard – eventually – to keep them from destroying our entire property – as chooks do – and gave them a lovely little house to live in, even equipping it with a automatic door to keep out undesirables such as foxes and goanas. When the chooks arrived, they looked a bit worse for wear. However, they quickly adapted (measures 9-17) and found their place in the home we gave them, and in our hearts (measures 18-24). They ran around, pooed everywhere, scratched every square inch of dirt for bugs, turning their domain into Dunkirk after a shelling.
Bear in mind: they were “rescue hens”. They came with co-morbidities, which manifested themselves after a while (measures 25-40) which ultimately ended up with four of them, so far, succumbing to those ailments… and those went the way of all flesh, ultimately (measures 41-48).
I hope the listener can sort-of pick out the emotional moments I was trying to paint with this piece… the arpeggios representing the chooks running hither and yon, with an inexorable quest for bugs. We humans see bugs (insects) as, well, icky, but for the hens, it’s their reason for living. Even what they make (eggs) is reasonably irrelevant to them if a cockie or a worm appears in their field of view.
Is the metaphor a bit patronising, a bit pat? Am I saying we are running around after “bugs”, when greater things could be contemplated? Anyway, enjoy the music… I had a lot of fun writing it, particularly envisioning our hens running… they have such a funny way of running!
In case the reader is mildly interested, I offer the score: