Bringing Home the Cows

by Bernadette Lynch

He walked there and back morning and evening  
across the Long Field and the Loughane road  
to the pond. He drove the cows before him with a flick
of a blackthorn stick. He always had a Rex with him.
She remembered at least six. She’d follow like an altar girl,
reverent, in procession.  

It wasn’t that he never spoke.  He’d shown her the duckweed
and the frochans and the spiked milfoil so he must have done.  
And she knew about dry stone walls and harvest moons.
How else would she know? All she recalled was the splat
of her boots in fresh cowpat and the barkings of Rex
and the silence.

She liked the evenings best. They’d plod though mire    
towards home. She’d picture ham and soda bread
and tart.  Once they’d stopped while he smoked his pipe
in the peach light. She’d made a daisy chain for him.
He’d wrapped it safe in his pouch of Sweet Afton.
Grand, girleen, grand, he’d said.