Does a chicken have lips?

Is the pope Catholic?

Of course he is!

Does a bear poo in the forest?

Certainly!

Does a chicken have lips?

I DON’T KNOW!!!

I can hear you saying, ‘Don’t be daft! Chickens don’t have lips!’ And before I went to live in Peak Hill at the age of thirteen, I would have agreed with you. I would have explained that chickens have beaks. Beaks are hard and have no soft pouty lip area. Therefore, a chicken does not have lips.

Does a chicken have lips?

No way!

Would you like to be locked in a cage with four hungry tigers?

Does a chicken have lips?

But when I went into Year 9 at Peak Hill Central School, a boy in my class used to say ‘Does a chicken have lips?’ as though it meant ‘Yes!’

If this footy mad lad was asked if he’d be at the local match on the weekend, he’d respond, ‘Does a chicken have lips?’

If a frustrated teacher asked, ‘Do you wish you were at home instead of at school?’ he’d respond, ‘Does a chicken have lips?’

 If I’d have said, ‘Hey! Do you want a meat pie with sauce?’ he’d have roared, ‘Does a chicken have lips?’

Very soon I found myself wondering, ‘Does a chicken have lips?’

Within weeks, I found myself thinking, ‘A chicken must have lips!’

And now, decades later, I’m still confused.

Such is the power of words. We can know something but have our logic brought into question by well-phrased words. It may be that they are spoken with great conviction or raw enthusiasm, as in the case of my Year 9 classmate. They may be sung to a catchy tune or wrapped in the persuasive powers of a large screen advertisement on TV. They may be beautifully written on the pages of a book - raw, emotional, poetic - or flaunted on a homemade placard at a rally. Words change us - who we are, how we think, what we value, what we believe.

So tell me … please ...

Does a chicken have lips???

 In Venice, trying to determine whether or not the pigeons have lips.

In Venice, trying to determine whether or not the pigeons have lips.