Making cow eyes. For the love of cows. Cowscowscows “Cows” by Peter Kocan! #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

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.

More about Kocan:

“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.

Little Girl Talk by Delores S. Williams.

Little Girl Talk

my grampaw was a smooth black, way back then
before black discovered beautiful he was pretty.
he had pearlywhite teeth and a big moustache.
he useta skinny-out to the edge with a black-wax stick. on Sunday
he would pindown in his darkblue suit, wideblue tie.
white-stiff shirt, and hip-on down to the presbyterian church where he argued
over how to spend white folk’s mission money.

on weekdays: overalls. he worked in a factory.
until some white boss talked down to him. then he’d quit.
to another factory. talk union talk to negroes. get
laid off. on the way home buy me a big box of oran
kause i kalled iron ‘i-roan’.

my grampaw was all the kings i wanted to know. when
i was six. my grampaw was smart. didn’t
go to college. said white folks wouldn’t let’im.
but he worked algebra and trig and read gladstone’s law.
and science books. he used to tell us kids
there wasn’t no heaven.

my grampaw said i was the sugar in his coffee. yes indeed.
i remember my grampaw,

the day the siren screamed into our street ballgame
and stopped at our house, we kids, eight of us, scattered
into an uneven line across the street. we watched two
big, redneck, white men in white uniforms stuff my
pretty grampaw into something called a straitjacket,
crowd him into the back of their looney wagon, jump
into the front themselves and shriek-off into the distance.
my grammaw stood perfectly still. her proud eyes
looked deep and sore and hollow. my mother, unmoving, cried softly.
i, girl-boy-tom-tree-climber of 10, tried
not to feel anything. the tears that didn’t come swelled
to a tight fist in my chest

big, brave, girlboy me
shove the weight of my ten years
onto two flat feet,
strolled to the middle of the street
and yelled as loud as i could,
“throw the ball, shity!”
.          The game was on.


Delores S. Williams


From The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.

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“Why He Stroked The Cats” by Merill Moore.

Merrill Moore, a psychiatrist in Boston, born in 1903 in Columbia, Tennessee, is one of the poets I love most.

His poem “Why He Stroked The Cats” always fills me with such happiness over language (laconic) and imagery, I have read it many, many times.

I have posted it before and here it is again- Why He Stroked the Cats
He stroked the cats on account of a specific cause,
Namely, when he entered the house he felt
That the floor might split and the four walls suddenly melt
In strict accord with certain magic laws
That, it seemed, the carving over the door meant,
Laws violated when men like himself stepped in,
But he had nothing to lose and nothing to win,
So in he always stepped. Before him went
Always his shadow. The sun was at his back.
The ceilings were high and the passageway was so black
That he welcomed the great cats who advanced to meet him,
The two of them arching their soft high backs to greet him;
He would kneel and stroke them gently under their jaws,
All that is mentioned above being the cause.
–Merill Moore