Love Cow

by Geraldine Clarkson

Oh cow of love you have me pinned
to your evergreen felt

and are in at my ear with fermenting
oaths and actual importuning

and imprecations. I rebut you
with a tough raft of arguments, derived

from magazines under the sofa
at my Aunt Libbie’s house

I have a disease, your rump is small,
your rich cream disgusts me

and others which are more
sophisticated, from the Bible and books of

philosophy. You give me a soft brown
stare. How I wobble now before you, cow

of love, humongous, like a free-range
sack of boulders swaying

delightfully, your cordial spine
rippling, your celtic skeleton

offering promise. To eat you
would be divine, surely,

your emerald milk fast-forwarding
to your stomachs, pressed over and over

by clenching muscles. Why is it you cows get
such bad press? I wonder, half-beguiled.

Sometimes I see you, fenced,
defending young (‘let go of your dog

if cows surround you’, the notice
on the farm-gate says)    

or at the abattoir, steaming hot
and hung prosaically on hooks.                                           

Or on the plate with no relief
except for some mocking green

salad – staked out, defenceless.
They say your flesh can stay

unsullied in the gut
for six months or more –

bowels fill with longing
for sloping fields, a faraway sea.