Cows by Peter Kocan
Cows graze across the hill,
Measuring the day
As their shadows tell
Irrelevant time. Their gait is half-way
Between moving and standing still.
The sun is gentle on the green
Of their meadow, their mouths deep
In its heavy warmth,
A watcher could fall asleep
In the depth
Of that untroubled scene.
From each dewdrop morning
To every day’s end
They follow the cycle
Of the rhythm of the world turning
In its season. A miracle
Of normalcy is a cow’s mind.
Beyond thought’s prickling fever
They dwell in the grace
Of their own true concerns,
And in that place
Know they will live forever
With butterflies around their horns.
“There is a field near the main kitchen where cows from the hospital dairy graze. There’s a peacefulness about cows.
At weekends you take a book and sit under the tree near the field and read a little and listen to music on your transistor and watch the cows.
Sometimes you lean on the fence and click your tongue at the cows and they will wander close and sniff at you and
examine you with big peaceful eyes but with a dubious look also, as if they’re wondering what your game is.
You don’t stay leaning on the fence too long. It’s a bit too visible there.
It might look odd.
Other people don’t spend their time looking at cattle. Looking at cattle is
probably a symptom of something. ”
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.