Different Animals

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

where cow-defensiveness

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’