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Featured Poem II • May 2015

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Eating and Being Eaten

 

Jane Yolen

 

“And she closed her eyes, and imagined what the world would
be like if worms were happier once they’d been eaten.”

—Teresa Matlock


 

This is an eating world, the child says, even Chicken Licken, my great heroine, She Who Offers Warnings, gets eaten. Probably in a good piccata sauce, her mother muses. At the table they give thanks for happy vegetables, though both have read about carrots screaming when pulled from the ground. Missionaries, mother says under her breath, sing prayers in the cannibals’ pot. Though I expect springboks curse the lion, even in the midst of being devoured. From her perch in the story book, Chicken Licken imagines a different, more satisfying world, one where worms become happier once they’re eaten, having been washed clean and holy in the beak.

 

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yolen01Jane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is the author of over 350 published books, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? The books range from rhymed picture books and baby board books, through middle grade fiction, poetry collections, nonfiction, and up to novels and story collections for young adults and adults. She has won two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Grand Master Award, and been named a Grand Master of sf/fantasy poetry by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates, and her Skylark Award—given by NESFA (the New England Science Fiction Association)—set her good coat on fire.

 

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