For days, nothing to say,
as we wait for rain, like always
in the dust we stir,
both wild and tame.
Cow trails deep and soft,
Chinese scrolls of pad and hoof
pressed into silent verse
moving freely in the dark.
Coyote, bobcat, rattlesnake,
bear, deer and mountain lion
leave their poetry at night
to be erased each day.
Fat and happy bovine string
of shiny-hided flesh upon their hay
somewhere wrapped in a dusty haze
apart from the appetites of men
and women like them, hungry for more
ground addicted to water wasted
Good company, these young heifers
who can read our minds and hearts—
perceptive beings who trust in us
that we prefer
oblivious to the ravenous
machine designed to incorporate
everything with promises of hay
until we’re gone.
Moonrise, mottled skies,
jigsaw clouds like islands
floating between us and the space
old eyes need to find sanity,
but tonight’s fractured skyscape
Bob has been waiting for this cow to calve for a week, checking her and her tribe of first-calf heifers in the evenings. I am impressed with the iPhone’s ability to capture a wide range of light, and if held still, its sharpness. He’s also captured the maternal instincts of this new mother #8118, a Hereford-Angus X cow, with her fresh Wagyu X calf – exactly what we’re looking for in replacement heifers.
On the horns of an infant moon,
the creek shrinks and pools
between sycamores and live oaks
as babies come to first-time mothers
bringing the bear tracks downcanyon
on the scent of spent placentas.
Black progeny of the river nymph –
white heifer driven madly by Hera’s
gadfly Oestrus to cross continents
and populate Asia – find maternity
perplexing at first. Yet, lick and nuzzle
the stumbling wet struggle to stand,
suckle and rest that enflames instinct
in all flesh. Worthy timeless worship,
no better mother ever than a cow.
“IO” is included in POEMS FROM DRY CREEK, Starhaven, 2008.
Laugh when you can—
there are enough unfunny days.
Let irony dance nakedly,
hand in hand
with the unspoken,
beneath the flesh of humans
dying for confirmation.
We have become too serious
for our own good—
to be believed as real
representations of this nation
wrought from imperfect men,
and women, trying to forget
their sins—and I among them.
Let the wild calculations
of hawk and coyote confirm
our impetuous natures
to gain a better sense
of who we truly are.
(click image to enlarge July 2012 photo of Cooper’s Hawk)
Followers of the blog and and Facebook friends may be bored with our photographs of cattle, but it’s the most exiting time of year for us and our crew as the weather changes. It’s essential that we keep our eyes on our coming two-year old heifers that are having their first Wagyu X calves by recording their tag numbers and any other information that will help inform us as to whether they’ll make the cow herd or not—and to a less anxious degree, our second-calf heifers as well.
The twin bull calves from cow #3054, a mature six year old cow, appear to be sired by our Black Granite bull from Tehama Angus Ranch, spitting images of him at this stage of their short lives. We think that she can raise them both.
It’s early yet for rain,
for distant silhouettes
of cows and fresh calves
beneath oak trees
with murmurs and licks
on a young mother’s tongue.
A slow rhythm and meter
for weeks in the womb
that rumble clearly now:
grunts and moans—
a universal language
forever between them.
The tin roof of this old barn
leaks news like rain and flaps
in a pretentious storm of words
it tries to shed as we huddle
in the dry with what we believe—
the sun will come to green
the dirt and repair our senses,
and we will sing Hallelujah!
rejoicing long into the night.
Though not short of feed in the flat below Terminus Dam, we keep plenty of alfalfa hay in front of our replacement heifers this time of year. The old feed is mostly filler without much strength and we want our yearling heifers to continue growing and be in shape to cycle when we turn the Wagyu bulls out three months from now. Protein licks and balanced minerals are also available.
In addition to the yearling heifers on the flat are some first-calf heifers bred last year to Wagyu bulls. Close enough to keep an eye on, all this special attention, (I’m afraid we spoil them), will help with the health of these coming first-calf mothers. It’s what we do before our rainy season begins, that time of year when it might rain.
This photo was taken Monday, September 16th as the clouds rolled in, confirmation of our second weather change of August, based on a thirty-day cycle.