Sunday, February 14, 2010

cows and calves

I was in Udaipur a few weeks ago - a beautiful city - and this mother and daughter pair looked as though they were engaging in one of those deep conversations that happen between mothers and daughters. I grew up with cows and calves but in India I have seen a greater range of behaviours than I ever saw on the farm. I suspect it has to do with group behaviours. When I was a child, if I was with the cows then it was because we were moving them from one place to another. They didn't have the chance to sit around having deep and meaningfuls when we turned up.

what cows and calves say

thunder bolting at high speed
rolls across the corral
shaking it from root to roof
lightning takes off at even
greater speed and the rain comes
trundling after some calves
are fast like bullets others slow
like cycads watching waiting for
everything to pass them by
high speed or low we speak of memories
of the ways our mothers lived their
lives small garden-sized ambitions
revolving around not losing
what is in your mouth under the straw
or expansive ambitious sometimes
cruelly controlling the storm
is backing off just as our mothers
have and we rebellious youngsters
troublemakers unteachable bodytappers
make our own worlds achieving
well-beyond what was imagined we
sometimes whisper in that teenage tone
look what I’ve done


  1. Dear Susan,

    Could I please post this pic (of cow and her calf) with credit to you, at my blog entry about a zebu and her calf, among other animals? It's the 2nd or 3rd post down if you wish to look at There might be one profanity within the post(b____), but it's not meant to be profane. I realize this isn't a zebu pair, but it is close enough and lovely. Thanks, either way, for posting this. I have heard those conversations. My mum-in-law has a small BrAngus ranch. On cold November days in Missouri, I have watched and listened in the stillness of icy mists that became slurries, to the unheard conversations of cows and their calves before the frost. Peace,


  2. Sorry I've been slow to respond. I was travelling interstate and hadn't gone back through my blogs for a while.

    Yes, feel free to use the photo - a credit would be nice - thanks. Let's have a mutual link.

    Glad you liked the poem. I am getting there with this ms - and my previous book is being broadcast this weekend. You can find the link on my facebook.

    Take care,