Perfected Stare

Of all the beasts that God allows
In England’s green and pleasant land,
I most of all dislike the Cows:
Their ways I do not understand.
It puzzles me why they should stare
At me, who am so innocent;
Their stupid gaze is hard to bear —

To country people
Cows are mild,
And flee from any stick they throw;
But I’m a timid town bred child,
And all the cattle seem to know.
~from “Cows” by T.S. Eliot, published long after his death

Raised with cows
outside my back door,
I sat dreamily
on their bony backs
while dad milked,
the rhythmic
swoosh swoosh
filling the metal pail
as barn cats circled and purred.

The perfected stare of the cow;
I love
their unblinking interest
in the absurdity
of people and
what we do.

I fall
into the deep pool
of their brown eyes
and drown
there willingly,
anchored
by their curious gaze
and why they should care
about me
at all.

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