Cows In Mysore Poem by Denis Mair

Cows In Mysore

Rating: 5.0

In that district of cow stalls, their haven is a palm-grown promenade.

They return at twilight from their routes, alone or in twos and

They thread their way past intersections, all motorists giving way

By day they comb the city, browsing on provender left in baskets

Each cow has a route; checking for kitchen scraps at certain spots

South of Mysore's city center, there is this special palm-lined

Every few addresses is a stall for cows, right among people's houses

The contentment of cows is not a commercial slogan here

This interspecies street brings back my fondness for cows

I learned it from my father's long deep sniffs of appreciation

In Sirsi's Marikamba Temple, also at twilight, I see altar-stalls

Where a pair of cows have been rubbed down with ghee

I feel fondness, expressed by someone else's buttery hands

In Banavasi's ancient temple, the bull statue breathes delight

It sits before the sacred lingam, on the same level with visitors

Humble at Shiva's feet, it is the storehouse of a special spark

From its expression, I know it was browsing on fragrant flowers

This thousand-year-old Nandi bull was touched by many hands

Each day worshippers touch its face, then touch their head or heart

After centuries of touching lightly, just a patina on the still-
rough stone

Just a blush beginning on skin of fruit, not like in Hangzhou

Near Lingyin Monastery, where Happy Buddha's belly and face

Are rubbed each day, with covetous touch, for good luck

After a thousand years, the marble shows a glassy sheen

February 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: contemplation
Kathy Van Kurin 03 March 2017

Denis Mair, Your poem, Cows in Mysore, gave this reader a rich window into a culture and place iv'e not explored in person. We here in the USA would not necessarily imagine the life of a cow or cows in such a free life fashion. I was tickled by your description of the stalls available for free range cows! It sounds like these treasured beasts simply come and go as they please. Well, Mysore must be town in India? I would love to hear when you went there or lived there? thanks for writing a really cool poem taking me to such a wonderful place and experience........................Kathy

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Denis Mair 06 March 2017

Cows usually gather in loafing yards where they are watched and given fodder. From there they make forays into neighborhoods. In the evenings they are led from the yards to nearby stalls. This was the pattern I observed in several cities in India. The cows in Mysore seemed pretty special, being able to return on their own to stalls on residential streets. I was invited to a poetry festival in Chennai in 2015. Although the festival was cancelled due to serious flooding (Nov.2015) , I passed through that city after the flood. I also visited the poetess Rati Saxena in Trivandrum and the poet Salil Chatyurvedi in Goa. Luckily I traveled part of the way with my nephew, who knows the ins and outs of travel in India. We stumbled onto some wonderful things, such as an art biennial in Kochi and a parade of dressed-up elephants in Ernakulum. In Uttara Kannada District (Karnataka State) I visited a forest retreat near Sirsi and a cluster of craft workshops in Sagar. I also visited a wilderness camp on Linganamakki Reservoir (which supplies Bangalore city with clean water) . In that same district I visited a couple of old temple towns (Gokarn and Banavasi) . I have been blessed with friends in India. On PoemHunter you can see two poems that have been translated by my poet-friends (RIDDLES IN GREEN into Hindi, and STEWARDESS OF THE NEW AGE into Odia) . I have been invited to a poetry gathering in Odisha, India in April 2017, but unfortunately I cannot make it this time. I want to go there someday.

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Valsa George 05 October 2015

Typical scenes in Mysore..... so beautifully drawn! You seemed to have rightly imbibed the culture, lore and mores of this south Indian city! The cows are worshipped here! So they can roam freely anywhere! They are allowed to comb the city even during the peak hours and devour whatever is palatable for them! I appreciate your ability to sync with an alien culture! Great write!

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Denis Mair 05 October 2015

I want to imbibe more when I go to Chennai this December!

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Bharati Nayak 29 October 2015

Cows have a special place in Hindu scriptures.They are loved and worshiped like God. Your poem carries that dear feelings for cow.Liked and loved this poem.Such beautiful feelings have positive vibrations so as to touch the hearts thousand miles away across countries, across Himalayan mountains.Thanks for sharing.Hope you will find many more things to love when you visit India.- - - - -10

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Anjandev Roy 17 July 2023

Fantastic representation......thanks for sharing....

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Hans Vr 23 October 2020

I loved to read this poem, bringing back sweet memories of my own visit to India. The culture inspires awe and respect. Excellent write!

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Edward Kofi Louis 18 November 2019

Muse of the cows! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Mahtab Bangalee 01 April 2019

all through the worshiping-contemplating words of this poem through the COW figuring // interesting poem

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Prabhata Kumar Sahoo 15 June 2017

Cows of Mysore-I clearly admit the poet's efficiency in Indian culture/panorama.How nice flow of the scenery! Deserves lot.10

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