As Sumo sat on Henman Hill
One early summer’s day,
A sudden thought rose in her head –
How she would learn to play
That charming game the humans love
Throughout the summer months,
The one with bat and ball and net –
Accompanied by grunts;
The one with umpire sitting tall
Upon his wooden perch,
Whilst human chicks in silence wait
For tennis balls, to search.
Off Sumo went to learn the rules –
She even bought a racket,
(Not “bat” as once she’d misconstrued)
And now she learnt to whack it.
Her balls flew here, her balls flew there
With rapier precision,
And Sumo rose throughout the roost
To premiere position.
Top chick she was in tournaments
In coops throughout all Britain,
Where hens with open beaks did gasp
As history was rewritten.
As aces from her racket flew
And games and sets accrued,
Her fans in Britain’s roosts declared,
“Sumo, we think you’ve proved,
“You’re definitely MAN enough
(And not to mention, CHICKEN),
To play those humans at their game
And give them such a lickin’.
“As you’re our henny tennis star
And No. 1 Hen Seed,
We’d like to stretch you further and
On this we are agreed,
“You need to enter Wimbledon,
An innocent wild card,
Whom punters will expect to fail –
Then catch them off their guard.
“And since you’re not a woman
You can play against the men –
We can’t find any legal clause
Prohibiting a HEN!”
And thus a small ex-battery hen
To London was deployed,
With feathers crossed her dreams were not
About to be destroyed.
The early matches Sumo won
And soon she had a place,
Within the quarter-finals which
She conquered with an ace.
The semi next, though harder, was
A pretty easy bet,
She even managed forty winks
Upon the tennis net.
The final next: on Centre Court
And Sumo knew the world,
Was watching her intently
As her tennis dreams unfurled.
As she strode out to face the crowd
And verify all rumours,
She flashed beneath her tennis skirt
A glimpse of ginger bloomers.
She took the first set seven-five
The second she conceded,
At one-set-all she upped her pace
To get the break she needed.
The third set saw her rally
With her forewing shots divine,
Which flew like deadly arrows
To land just within the line.
Her backwing shots confounded
Her opponent every time,
Who faced humiliation
From a chicken in her prime.
The fourth set now – and Sumo lobbed
A volley of sharp aces,
The crowds went wild as Sumo bowed –
Then stooped to tie her laces.
“Miss Sumo leads six games to five”
The umpire then announced,
As the Human looked dejected
And resigned to being trounced.
And so it came, that final blow,
A killer, scythe-like lob,
That turned the crowd en-masse into
A hen-adoring mob.
Whilst waiting for her trophy
And the wild applause to pass,
Our Sumo took refreshments
With a nibble on the grass.
Quite soon the royal human
On the sidelines did appear,
And made the presentation
As our Sumo shed a tear.
“We don’t know how you’ve done it
But it seems the world’s best men
Have had their rackets shattered
By the prowess of a hen.
“We’d like to further honour
Your achievements on this court,
So as from now we have renamed
Our nation’s favourite sport.
No longer will we talk about
The noble game of “tennis” –
Instead the spelling’s changing to
The game we now call “hennis”.
And since your wildest dreams began
On Henman’s hill of fame
We think we’ll drop the man bit –
So Hen Hill is now its name.
* * * * * * *
Back in the coop the trophy was
Admired as is quite proper,
Said Sumo, “From now on this cup –
Is our new pellet hopper!