The Cow
The Cow

There’s a white cow standing upon the hill,
surely the whitest cow I shall ever see.
As usual with cows she is eating grass.
Nothing strange about that, except that the light,
the white light of the sun increases her white
until she seems like a moon reflecting the sun,
a cow-shaped moon newly materialized
to dazzle upon the rise of a grassy hill.
Perhaps she is the cow that jumped over the moon,
but how much grass can she nonchalantly bite
with that white light breaking upon her body?
O, now she raises her head and, striking a pose,
commands the field with a curve of her delicate tail.
And so I see that she has become a goddess
exacting and appreciating the homage
owed to a white spirit by darker creatures.
Those dull cows browsing in brown below her,
mere cows, I see that they cannot comprehend
how their appearance enhances the white goddess.
And yet their heads are lowered in due respect.
She is their deity as she is mine,
although I see her only from my distance.
I see her only through my grimy window.
Suppose I left my papers and left my desk,
walked through the garden, crossed the old stone wall,
slogged through the swamp at the bottom of the hill,
then with lowered eyes I could approach that whiteness.
Would I be touched to some extent by the sunlight,
and would my eyes be blinded with revelation?
Or would I find cow dung beneath my feet
and would she and I eat grass for the rest of our lives?

– –

“The Cow” was written shortly after I left America to take up residence in County Clare, Ireland.  It is one a number of poems written in response to the rural life I had begun to experience in Clare.

Knute Skinner

KNUTE SKINNER lives in Killaspuglonane, County Clare, his home for the past fifty-five years. His poetry has appeared widely in Ireland, Britain, Australia and North America. He is the author of sixteen books of verse including a collected edition, Fifty Years: Poems 1957-2007, which appeared from Salmon. A memoir, Help Me to a Getaway, was published by Salmon in 2010.

Ouevre

The Window Seat

Poetry by Knute Skinner

I found Edna stretched out there, absorbing the sun. “You look just like a cat,” I announced and put down my armload of books. “Do you also purr?” “I purr...
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The End of the Road

Poetry by Knute Skinner

He walks along the possible road, one deliberate step ahead of the next. At the end of the road, it may be, there’ll be sustenance, shelter, a sensation of sympathetic...
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On Being Ninety

Poetry by Knute Skinner

The clown is quieter now, but somewhere in the back of my closet is a large red nose. I try to keep on the move, but at times I find...
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Anthology

Deliverance Through Surrender

Poetry by Gaurav Mathur

Deliverance through surrender Order re-restored My true self is now in form Whole, wholesome, pure Unchanged, or rather back to the original form Self before me, before time Unchained, or...
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The End of the Road

Poetry by Knute Skinner

He walks along the possible road, one deliberate step ahead of the next. At the end of the road, it may be, there’ll be sustenance, shelter, a sensation of sympathetic...
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Held

Poetry by Arwa Qutbuddin

Held By earth By the realness of existence And all its illusions By warm stars in a fragrant night By shadows of clouds and torn leaves Held By the roots...
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