Eating The Family Cow - Poem by aMan Bloom
As a group to our barn we go.
Looking up as if she knows,
we lead her to sweet pasture,
wishing we could take of its nurture,
rather than must needs pass it through her.
She nibbles the little that is left,
withdraws to her empty pan
where each of us takes a hand to her udder
and, at the plashing, thrill with wonder.
Hardly half a bucket is filled
where once there were three.
Long ago, talk of what to do and how and who:
Poor dad and young John take the nasty task on.
The others will watch as befitting her status,
our cow, our Clara or Molly, raised from a calf,
member of our home, loyal servant, lowing mewing friend,
understanding slave and sometimes guide,
we must do what we must do or send us all away,
a choice harder still to sway.
Many a time and oft have her liquid eyes
gazed upon each one of this crew,
that lolling great tongue sweeping
from her sweet-breathed maw,
as we rested our head on her warm flank
and breathed the heady steam off her stream,
watching the steady frothing and giving thanks.
It’s a triangular dirk that John has fashioned,
Designed to pierce the great vein of her neck,
not ever to close but instead to let flow,
so first her life will spurt, then sputter;
the great figure will kneel and drop,
The mound of her cage, a mountain on the plains
settled in its falling and its lifting,
in her stall the blood runs earth to mud.
We stand and see spirit drain from her eyes,
as to us death’s veil blinds her.
The tongue hangs still from her open mouth.
Some tears from the girls, a sigh from their mum:
What’s got to be done is done,
and now to the work
and the kitchen.
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