In the happy dance of risk
and cautiousness they do,
the cows’ shy sambas remind me
very much of me and you
Curious about this not-cow
creature wandering in their place,
they thunder forward,
scrutinise my uncowed face
From a fixed distance.
Then follow obstinately, cow-breath
on my neck, bolt when I turn to look
as though my gaze means death.
So, their fright accelerates
my pulse. I am unclear
becomes cow-attack. How near
Can I let them nose behind
my back before I leap the fence?
Their jumpy hooves could crush me like
a plum, my simple trust no recompense.
We’re different animals, who guess
the other’s strange illogic, dread
its power, cower safely
in solitary pastures of the head.
© Chris Banks
Published in my anthology ‘Days of Fire and Flood’