MOOVEMENT

 
 

Somewhere To Go

 

There are times when the poet

needs an audience

even when there’s no one around

even when driving for miles along

a desolate interstate

knowing there is somewhere to go,

 

so the poet makes a spontaneous turn

onto a dirt road,

drives until grazing cows appear.

He pulls the car over, gets out—

air is still and hot, smells of

manure and dry grass.

 

He walks to fencepost, leans

against it, announces to the cows:

I have a new poem to share with you.

It doesn’t have a title yet, though.

Several of the cows “moo”

as they have been doing

 

since the poet’s arrival

(and prior to his arrival).

He recites the poem slowly,

carefully enunciating each word.

A horsefly circles his head,

a cow here and there

 

flashes eyes in his direction.

A wild thistle

in the middle of things

has its defenses, its space.

When the poet has finished

he notices that all the cows

 

are lying down now,

facing in different directions.

Is there a connection here?

Was something understood?!

Getting back into his car,

the poet continues on a more

 

confident journey, steering

his own words

with somewhere to go

with inspiration to turn onto

another unmarked road

along the way.

 

John Rowe

 

Honorable Mention Winner,

"Journeys" Category

Ina Coolbrith Circle's

88th Annual Contest, 2007


Published in Winsome Losesome

(Eventuality Press, 2010)

  

 


Cow Poem

 

I approach field of the poem

with breath of country air

and one cow not to be slaughtered

standing in the middle of

the deep green grass

 

where she continually grazes

even when I walk into shaded space

beside her black and white hide.

The bovine freely roams throughout

 

frame of this poem

but stays focused on eating grass

one corner of an acre at a time,

unmovable once territory is claimed

 

except to shift her weight ever so slightly

when wind pushes tall blades

away from her mouth.

As I try to think of a name for her

 

by speaking a few out loud,

she stops, raises her head

and with shy, startled, happy eyes

looks at me as if the world is changing

 

and licks whiskers off my face.

That thick tongue doesn’t linger—

quickly turns attention again to

surrounding lush plot

 

and it is time I start to walk

toward my own amplified hunger

as the cook rings the chow bell

in the distance.

 

Taking a final look over my shoulder

at that one cow,

I see the grass is shorter

in patches all around the landscape

 

and as sun begins to set

on horizon of this poem

that dear creature,

nudging my words to the side,

has yet to get her fill.

 

John Rowe

 

 


follow the cows

 

and you may begin

to understand

the land as they do—

moo your way into the crowd

 

and you may begin

to stand proud

as they do—

moo your way into the crowd

 

utter cow language—

under is the udder

swelling like a rain cloud—

moo your way into the crowd

 

milk it till drops turn to downpour

then follow the cows as they lie down now

and allow to be heard in the herd aloud—

moo your way into the crowd

 

John Rowe

 

 

 

 

 
 
Encounter On I-80

 

From the back of a Berkeley Farms van

a painted Holstein looks at me.

She seems black-and-white sure

of her place in the universe.

 

As we roll down I-80,

I talk to her through my windshield.

She’s a silent metal shimmy

among thick-trunked trees.

Her eyes are meltingly real.

I am reassured by her bovinity.

 

I inform the Holstein, who keeps a watch on me,

that I'm on my way to a latté,

a drink of steamed milk rich in calcium,

and that its espresso with flavonoids

is also healthy.

I call the latté my medicinal libation.

 

As the Berkeley Farms van pulls away,

I thank the silent Black and White

for my upcoming milk and caffeine fix.

It couldn't exist

without her adorably lovely coy cowness,

now disappearing into the distance.

 

Sherry Sheehan

 

(published in the March 2004 Crockett Signal)
 

 

Curious Calf

 

Curious calf,

you look at me

fixated.

Nearby, your mother is grazing.

You have no fear.

You are so cute, you blue-ribbon

baby,

you deserve to be appreciated by

many

very young ladies.

 

In the best of worlds,

one of them would claim you,

name you,

care for you,

get close enough to touch you

fearlessly.

 

You would become her pet,

included in her future

forever. Safe from the carnivores:

the cougar,

the wolf,

the coyote,

the bear,

the cattle buyer

at the county fair.

 

John Pray (1940-2010)

 

 


Poem For A Three-legged Cow

 

Just how many three-legged cows

have you seen standing in reality?

Rhetorical question—don’t answer, please.

This is just a little convention

to get your attention

(I, the poet, have such self-conscious needs).

Ironically, the three-legged cow

grazing in this land of poem

hungers not for your attention, nor mine.

You see, even though created

with this unique disposition,

she’s content to live as cow:

life of absolution,

chewing her cud,

occasionally swishing tail

to ward off flies.

She may move you with moo’s

but will speak no truths nor lies

(no why me’s)—

she will remain cow, now and till the end

balancing on all threes.

 

John Rowe


Published in Winsome Losesome

(Eventuality Press, 2010)

 

 


To Know

 

The cows will know.

The cows will know when to go home.

 

I don’t know when I will go home.

I will want to go home, I know.

But I don’t know when I will know.

 

I am lying in a field.

The field is green and full.

 

I am surrounded by cows in this field.

I hear chewing and whispers

rushing like mice through this field.

 

I am laughing. The cows are laughing.

Grasses are tickling us all in this field.

 

I close my eyes.

Now I am dreaming.

 

I open my eyes.

The cows have gone home

and so have I.

 

What was there to know?

A cloud floats over the field it knows.

 

John Rowe


To be published in Beyond Perspective 

(Finishing Line Press, 2015)

 

 


beyond that green hill

imagine a cow unnamed

not imagining

 

John Rowe

 

 

 

 

 

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