Sunday, May 4, 2008
Wanda the Wonder Cow Gives Sixteen Gallons of Milk on Some Days
They’ll start the tour by telling you
this land of milk and ice cream
is a haven for girls. Bull calves?
Who needs ‘em? It’s the heifers
they love, so if you are born
that fortunate gender, you will be
coddled and bottle-fed, brought inside
the kitchen on frosty nights.
And it’s true, they love you
for your easy-going nature,
they put you in a pasture
where you’ve got wide open spaces
and endless blue sky
and can eat grass all day long.
You are encouraged to grow fat
and lazy. The only thing
they ask is that you stand politely
while they hook you to a machine
that will tug and swallow, send
your bodily fluids rushing down
small pipes, then larger pipes,
then into the belly
of the pasteurization machine
that you will never see, because by then,
you will be back out in the pasture
grazing sweet grass, chewing your cud,
strolling with a friend to the water tub.
You are happy to give. You are
not burdened with calf-rearing
or barn-cleaning. Could there be a better life?
Only, eventually you’ll begin to feel
something is missing. You’ll get bored
and start gazing across the fence.
Is this really all there is?
Couldn’t they at least bring a bull
over to play instead of just inserting
an artificial insemination needle?
And the calves – after a hard labor,
would it be so bad to be nuzzled and nursed?
You’ll try to get their attention
by withholding milk,
but they won’t understand.
They’ll just give you a slap
on the rump, tell you not to worry,
send you back out to that damn pasture
with its 500 thousand volts
keeping you in.
- Irene Latham
"There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread."
- Mother Teresa