Calliope the Kung Fu Chicken



Standing about in a Kung Fu stance

With her white robe on and matching white pants

She may be quiet and she may be humble

But she’s always prepared and she’s ready to rumble

The rest of the chickens thought her suspicious

And when talking of her were often quite vicious

They made fun of Calliope, behind her back

As they gossiped around the old chicken shack


All the other hens preferred playing darts

And they had no time to do martial arts

Leaving poor Cal alone in the yard

Rehearsing her chops and practicing hard

Training before the sun had yet risen

Muscles you’d usually see only in prison


Calliope knew that they laughed about her

And no matter what, she was stuck on the outer

It’s no fun being picked on, bullied or teased

It makes you unhappy and very displeased

So Calliope kind of kept to herself

And shared her thoughts with nobody else


From her chicken mouth right down to her legs

Whilst scratching around and when laying eggs

Cal did not utter a sentence or syllable

She held her tongue for an unending interval

She only spoke when it wasn’t expected

Which confirmed to the others just what they suspected

That chicken Calliope was a little bit strange

And wasn’t at home there on the free range


Each afternoon at about half past four

Came a rattle and shake at the chicken shack door

And every day all the chickens would panic

Flapping their wings and being quite manic

As if it had not ever happened before

They’d race back and forth across the coop floor

And, just as quickly, they’d soon grow calmer

As the door opened up and in stepped the farmer.


Come along chooks, the farmer would cough

Pouring feed from a bucket, into a trough

The hens would all squawk and the hens would all splutter

And were so high-strung, the farmer did mutter

It does no good, for all these hens

To spend each day waiting and stuck in a pen

All their emotions so close to the surface

It sickens the chickens to always be nervous

Tomorrow you girls will get a surprise

The moment you wake and open your eyes

While the hens didn’t notice – they were too busy eating

Calliope wondered what the farmer was meaning


As the sun reached, over the horizon

The whole chicken coop got a surprise when

A shadowy figure cleared out his throat

Before letting loose an incredible note

It was long, high and clear with a touch of vibrato

And belonged to a rooster by the name of Ricardo


As the hens gathered – some still in their night dresses

Ricardo smoothed out his silky long tresses

With the back of his wing, then took a long breath

Stood up quite straight and puffed out his chest

Good morning ladies, my name is Ricardo

He said in a voice all filled with bravado


I’ve come to your coop to stay for a while

He said with a slightly mischievous smile

An audible gasp was there to be heard

Tumbling out of the beaks of the birds

You’re going to stay? They asked in a chorus

Tell us exactly what you will do for us

The Rooster began to make an advance

And without delay he started to dance

He sang in a voice that was clearer than crystal

And bounced off the tin like a shot from a pistol


I’m only here to make you feel good

Protect you from harm like a good rooster should

I’ve got personality and talent to burn

And all that this rooster will ask in return

Is that you write a note, down in your diary

To make special effort, just to admire me

From afar or from closer, I really don’t mind

But if I don’t impress you then you must be blind

I’m a good looking rooster, and that’s undeniable

If you want something handsome, I’m always reliable

I’ve studied the arts and am great at debating

And my voice has had six years of opera training

So to answer your question, to respond to your query

I’m here to make sure life never gets dreary


He finished his song down on bended knee

As if he had just made a royal decree

He was still taking bows as applause petered out

And with a great flourish, span himself about

It drove the point home until it was hammered

Anyone could see the hens were enamoured

Their eyes were as full as the ocean Pacific

The hens thought that Rick was a bit of terrific


Calliope watched the unfolding events

With her beak hanging wide with all the suspense

My goodness she said, as the noise fell away

The hens turned around to hear what she’d say

But Calliope stood just as mute as a stone

And felt such a chill in her poor chicken bones


Slowly the silence then started to melt

As the chickens all laughed, Calliope felt

She shouldn’t have spoken and should have stayed quiet

The chuckling crowd then became a riot

Calliope Chicken! The laughed and they squeaked

We liked it better when you didn’t speak!

Calliope cringed and hung her head low

If chickens could blush, she’d have been all aglow


She covered her face deep down in her shame

As the hens gathered round started chanting her name

Ricardo the Rooster joined along with them

As laughter rang out, across the chook pen

Calliope made her way back to the roost

Hoping it might give her spirits a boost

But she could hear the chickens still speaking

And she listened in until her eyes were leaking

With tears streaming down the side of her face

Calliope’s mind turned to thoughts of escape


The following day at about half past four

A familiar rattle could be heard at the door

Settle down ladies, Ricardo said

There’s no need for panic, you’re about to be fed

The hatch door swung open and in a split second

Calliope knew that her freedom beckoned

Dressed like a ninja from her head to her talons

Filled up with courage like it came by the gallon


As the farmer stepped in, Calliope bolted

Span around twice and then somersaulted

Right past the farmer and straight past the hens

And past Ricardo and out of the pen

Her chicken legs pumped up and down like two pistons

As she felt adrenaline surge through her system

Her chicken feet flailing, she looked quite bizarre

Careering about like an old dodgem car

As her legs were nearly worn down to the nub

Calliope disappeared into the scrub


Cal turned around and dropped to the ground

Her heavy breathing was the only sound

Calliope heard for a minute or two

This brave little bird, what should she do?

Cal watched the coop from a comfortable distance

And from what she saw, she drew an inference

That none of the chickens seem too effected

Cal’s escape, it would seem, had passed undetected


I am free, I am free, I am free, she repeated

As she considered how her freedom teetered

On something so simple as taking a chance

And running as though she had fire in her pants

Because what is simple can seem complicated

Which why simple things can be relegated

Neglected, forgotten or simply misplaced

When all you need have is a handful of faith


Calliope’s thoughts soon turned to survival

As she built her camp, not a moment was idle

Using kung fu, she quickly created

Stilts so to build a house elevated

A house grand enough to be fit for a senator

Safe and secure to protect her from predators

As Cal settled down for her first night’s sleep

She suddenly felt satisfaction so deep

That it dwelled within her right down to her soul

And kept her warm in the night black as coal


Then one day as dawn broke over the farm

The sound of a song did shatter the calm

It was, put politely, a real heart-starter

As Ricardo sang songs from La Traviatta

Rise and shine ladies, Ricardo declared

It’s time for you to get up and prepare

To shake off your sleep and be energetic

And begin a routine of strict calisthenics


The hens were reluctant to get out of bed

Some of them even kept snoring instead

He’d asked them nicely, he’d even sung

So Ricardo cried out at the top of his lungs

GET OUT OF BED he bellowed and blustered


The sound of the screaming set off a commotion

And set the hens into a flurry of motion

And amidst all the yelling and all the shock

Nobody noticed the creeping red fox…..


Meanwhile, back at Calliope’s camp

She was warm and secure and out the damp

She never went far unless safe to do so

And lived her life just like Robinson Crusoe

Push ups and star jumps and yoga twice daily

Her fitness regime was so far from lazy

She had chicken sweat running out of her pores

As Cal became fitter than ever before


Back in the coop, the chickens were stretching

They collapsed and complained and some were dry retching

Ricardo looked out, shook his head in disgust

Off you go now, back to bed if you must

And just as the chickens began slinking away

Ricardo thought he heard somebody say

Look out behind you, he’s after the hens

Sound the alarm, there’s a fox in the pen.

And sure enough, there was a fox on the loose,

Putting his razor sharp teeth to good use

He slobbered and snarled as he cornered the chickens

Some of whom started to feel themselves sicken


As the horror unfolded and without hesitation

Ricardo acted in self preservation

With haste so indecent it was down-right obscene

Ricardo scarpered away from the scene

As the hens cried in vain for him to be dutiful

Ricky said, No thanks, I’m here to be beautiful

I’m not about to risk myself being hurt

Or a meal after entrée and before dessert

He said, I’m sorry but I really can’t stay

As Ricardo turned chicken and then ran away

The fox bared his teeth as the seconds grew shorter

And so began the chicken shack slaughter


The fox snarled and snapped and made his attack

As he bit off hen heads all ‘round the shack

Their bodies staggered around quite unsteady

As chicken heads rained from the sky like confetti

And blood spurted out, much like a geyser

The fox was now ready for his appetizer

And just as he prepared to fill up his guts

He heard the sound of the coop door slam shut

He span around, all ready to injure

To find a chicken that was dressed as a ninja


Look at you, said the fox. Are those your pyjamas?

They’re a pretty poor substitute for some armour

For if fear turns your body from muscles to jelly

I can tell you right now you’ll end up in my belly

Calliope did not move so much as a feather

So much so that the fox wondered whether

She had understood that she’d soon be dead

The moment the fox chose to bite off her head


But rather than scream and rather than panic

Calliope took an approach more organic

Ready to rumble and with nothing to say

She raised her wings in the old ninja way

The fox thought it funny and said, That’s alright

It won’t bother me if you put up a fight

With his teeth bared, the fox lunged towards her

But soon found himself face down in some water


It was almost as though the chicken had vanished

The fox could not figure out how she managed

To avoid being eaten or somehow slip through

He simply could not comprehend her kung fu

How did you do that? The shocked fox enquired

As his fox face turned red and began to perspire


As the fox spoke, he again took a lunge

And fell so hard it took air from his lungs

He jumped to his feet and hurled himself at her

A series of blows then started to batter

The fox from his head right down to his socks

As Calliope unleashed her karate chops

Until the fox lay just as still as a tomb

His whole body covered in bruise after bruise


Finally, the old red fox was defeated

I surrender, he cried. I admit that I’m beaten

Forgive me please, I don’t mean to be bitter

It seems that I’m conquered by someone much fitter

More skillful, more brave and better prepared

Someone who managed to make me feel scared

A note in his voice sounded terribly anguished

And the fox hung his head to show he was vanquished


Cal took off her mask and started to leave

But felt someone tug at the hem of her sleeve

Before you go, hear my proposition

For some years now I’ve been secretly wishin’

To stop killing chickens and go into business

Becoming a teacher of physical fitness


Calliope listened but felt quite confused

Throughout her life, she become quite used

To people ignoring her very existence

So she could not understand the fox’s insistence

But why do you need me? Calliope asked

Because, said the fox, You carry a spark

That lights up your innards and glows in your beak

That sets you apart and makes you unique


So Calliope and the fox opened a business

A studio offering physical fitness

Where chickens could train and become less tense

And gain instruction and learn self defence

Calliope Chicken taught them kung fu

Which is just what dreamed that she one day might do

I am free, I am free, I am free, she would say

As she got up at the start of each day


Calliope Chicken had been an outcast

But hard times are times that seldom will last

Happiness can be just a matter of time

Or the time that it takes to make up your mind

I am free, I am free, I am free, she would shout

And for every day since there was never a doubt

That a handful of faith was enough to ensure

She had courage enough to run out the coop door

If you lack courage, then think of Calliope

And take a deep breath, make a note in your diary

That if you take a chance, your pulse may well quicken

But that you will be free like Calliope Chicken






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