March 20, 2007

cow poem


it is a day for poetry   that is to say

one like any other   full of sunshine   paddocks

and cold at heart


all day I speak to screen poets

the artless machine gives me breath

and words     and


I am sitting in

a paddock far away    a cow roars out


even I can tell distress from love

in cows

in others itís not so easy


blue seeps in at the curtains

of my cow-isolated study

I warn it off with words


there is too much at stake

to start loving now


the phone nags

and there only people

I donít love

they make their demands

time    money    an honest opinion

a dance

I donít want to hold hands

there is no one whose thigh I want

to cross no particular blizzard eye I want to


I make the print big with fine


the cow is giving birth

and someone is in trouble     the dairyman

Ė I know his name Ė

will come in slow urgent

paces across the paddock

and watch    not wishing

to disturb her   his girl    full of hope in a field

of good winter feed

there is nothing to the print

the page rolls past like a lowing

poets fall off and fail

clipped by time    they thought they were immortal

and not one was

a comet   the size of a swimming pool

glides over and we donít notice our near extinction


astronomers should take more care weíre not hit

by the unpredictable


she lows in the paddock

and the dairyman≠ ≠≠Ė Phil Ė judges with squinty eyes

itís a matter of economics this love

I write cheques

to poets     petite commercial haikus of trust

it must

be the end of the financial world

the mail drips in

another poem comes reeling up   this is a bluster

of words

high as a blue sky the cow says

and Phil     the master cowman     strides over the field

of the poem    there is food for thought in this green


he takes the cow by the horns

and speaks to her in low tones


then he grasps the calf by the legs and for a while

there is an ten-legged beast    his two   her four

and the four of the new

she bellows out and Phil

pulls the legs and the poems come up on the screen   too much

too many poems    and the new beast is born


—Chris Mansell


from her latest book (Love Poems, Kardoorair Press, Armidale, 2006)

Posted by dwaber at March 20, 2007 12:32 PM