Life force


I don’t need
To see five thousand fed
On loaves and fishes,
Blind eyes opened,
Or a man shake off the tomb like a twenty-four-hour flu.

Just show me
A calf
Thirty seconds into life;
A heap of wet rags in the straw.

Her wide-eyed dam licks every glistening, astonishing inch of her;

And with the steam still rising
From her new piebald coat,
The calf snorts, shakes her head and strains to govern
Those outsize, unruly legs
And stand,
Drawn to the udder by a power
She can’t resist, and I cannot explain.

My mother-in-law’s house in Wales is on her brother’s dairy farm. My daughter and I went down to visit Uncle R one afternoon, and arrived literally seconds after a heifer calf had been born. My daughter, who’s nine, was captivated by the new arrival (who’s since been named after her) and I was reminded that miracles not only can happen, but do. You know them when you see them.

6 thoughts on “Life force

  1. Some poems are posted on here specifically for me to read first thing in the morning!!

    This is one of them

    Thank you Nick – I shall proceed into the mundanities of every day living with a smile on my face.

  2. Then my work here is done. Thank you so much, David – a comment like yours is humbling, heartening and makes it all worthwhile. I hope that, among the mundanities, your day shows you a miracle or two!

  3. Thank you, Ina – your kind words mean a lot. It’s so easy to forget that boring old farm animals like cows and sheep perform this miracle year in, year out, usually without any help from us. You could see it a million times and it’d still be amazing. Glad you liked the poem.

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