Friday, August 24, 2012

Tuesday Poem: previously published by Melusine in Summer of 2009

Moonlight Calving

They say those who begin under 
moonlight, give the richest milk.
A cow lies down in the field when it's her time.
You're summoned out of warm bed
into the damp, the clover underfoot.

The shepherds were drawn by a star,
but here in these rolling fields,
all silvered and shadowed,
you've come because you can't sleep.

There are no choirs singing.
All you hear is the lowing of one in need of relief.
You will be her annunciation, her benediction
as you reach up inside her and pull as hard as you can.


But the writer worries.
Who cares that they have to be yanked out?
And it hurts, goddamn it,
that she's full of a rage
she knows no one wants to hear about.
It's messier than she ever could have imagined.

Don't look away in embarrassment, though.
She delivers, she does eventually.
As she cleans it up, you'll see,
the thing will develop a presence.

This tender scaffolding of words
still too wobbly to stand,
curls on the moonlit page
fresh from its difficult birth,


For the sake of argument
why not say it is also effortless:
akin to Jell-O setting if Jell-O suddenly set and came alive.

One minute there is moonlight.
Well, we call it light, but really it is nothing
even remotely resembling true light:
the white of sunlight with its hidden waves of color.
This is light reflected from a body curving toward another body.

An ethereal whiteness
slowly solidifies in a field,
comes alive as a newborn calf
bleating for its mother,
and we feel the milk of its yearning,
thrill to its nudge and nuzzle.


Helen McKinlay said...

This is beautiful Eileen. I like it that you have three versions...that came as a surprise. it's great the way you have encompassed the different facets of birthing...pain struggle, mess, shock, and then another being sturdy alive! Thank you.

Helen McKinlay said...

Apologies for all the typos... capital letters and comas missing. Please feel welcome to correct me :-)

Ben Hur said...

I love how you've linked the idea of the cow birthing to the writer birthing ideas. Great poem, Eileen.