The gravel of the ranch road
sharp under our feet,
we walk among bulls.
Fill our lungs
with methane-flavored air
spiced with ozone
from the thrashing stream.
The bull by the lane
takes a stance on wide-planted legs.
White hair curls
on a broad forehead
between horns curved to kill.
He stares in our eyes,
stretches a mouth around
square yellow teeth,
emits a bellow.
I leap. You just coo,
Hello, big beautiful boy.
We march on
unmolested by bull.
They’re almost pets, you explain
as my heart thumps erratic beats,
and bull noises come
from all over the field,
through budding oaks.
Friends they are, raised together, you say
as we approach six Herefords, twelve horns,
and walk straight through
their parted ranks, grass-scented
breath steamy on our skin.
This poem first appeared in Voices on the Land (2005).
Used here with the author’s permission.
|Purchase a framed print of this poem.
Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a former psychology researcher and writer/editor with poetry widely published in journals, anthologies and Internet magazines. Author of ten books, her work appeared most recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Patricia has a special interest in healing writing and leads a cancer center writing group. She lives in Los Molinos, California.
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Nice story poem. I like it.
Posted 05/27/2014 11:52 AM
As Allie told Sally, "Wooly bully, Wooly bully, Wooly bully, Wooly bully, Wooly bully. Nice poem, so visual.
Posted 05/27/2014 10:31 AM
I always thought cows were pretty OK until my wife reminded me that some of them knocked a person down and rolled her to death as she was walking along a public footpath. I still think cows are pretty OK though, brought up in a Dairy Farming valley. Bulls though. As it says, 'horns curved to kill.' Excellent, and yes Kevin, pretty sexy.
Posted 05/27/2014 09:42 AM
Good introduction, Jayne. And nice poem, Patricia. I love a farm and spent much time on one in my youth. My dad owned a farm and cattle for a while. And yes, a cow can be a pet. Just raise a calf or visit with a single grown cow, talk to it, etc. and it will come to you next time. These are sentient beings. Great images here. But true, you need to be wary of bulls.
Posted 05/27/2014 08:17 AM
From farm brought up person, I suppose. It is a description of practicality and heart. Not for me.
Posted 05/27/2014 06:47 AM
In my experience with livestock, horses can be 'almost pets,' but cows not so much. What seems to drive this poem, which is really quite wonderful, though, is an underlying sexuality. I hope that's not just the reader!
Posted 05/26/2014 11:22 PM