Cattle drive

Out riding at the weekend, I followed a small group of cattle being driven along a lane. I didn’t begrudge the hold-up: for one thing, I was grateful for the rest; for another, I’ve created a few bovine traffic-jams in my time, and the whole scene brought back many memories. It also set my imagination working.

DROVING

Just ten head – steers, heifers and their dams –
And still they fill the lane with their wanderings.
Like tourists, they stop and gawp,
Take snapshot snatches at the hedgerow
Or duck into drives and gateways.
The old man out in front
Never turns, but keeps step,
One mallet fist holding
A plain yard-long ash stick outstretched,
Rigid and unarguable as a border checkpoint:
They will not pass him.
Behind, the boy – six foot and four-and-twenty –
Trudges, wordless but for odd sharp yips
And gruff praise for the laughing collies,
Waiting for the grip of that hard hand
To weaken.

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3 thoughts on “Cattle drive

  1. Oh, I have to agree with Charles – you are a master at painting a scene with your words! This poem had me smiling all the way through!

    I especially liked these words and the images they portrayed “Like tourists, they stop and gawp,
    Take snapshot snatches at the hedgerow” – hilarious!

    Thanks!
    Chloe xx

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