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COW POEMS

These are a couple of fabulous cow poems by Phillip Bentall

Cows at the water trough

The tank slop
And ballcock hiss,
The rough tongue rubber
On galvanised metal –

Cows jostle, rub heads,
Bulked with grass,
Suctioned in mud –
The bronchitic coughs
And nostril drips.

A moment of stares,
Head shakes
And mud-caked
Tail flicks,

When bellows
Unroll across fields
As slow as
The drift of continents.


Where cows are met

Downland. A chalky emulsion
Of trodden plantain and jutting flint
Makes up its ridgeway track.
Overhead, skylarks’ faint
Invisible chirrup follows
In a dry verge hiss of wind,
Wire-strummed.

An hour could be a year,
No one is seen.
Then, where the ground levels and falls away,
Cows are met –
Sleepy heads dip and dark eyes peer,
As if the last passer-by
Wore skins and carried a flint-headed axe.

Time steams
And swirls off their mud-splattered hinds,
Nostrils flare and sniff,
Legs bend and brace.

Then the skittish backward lurch,
The startled-eyed retreat,
The avalanche of fears

And the field explodes with hooves
As if mallets of stone age fists
Were set hammering in barrows under chalk.