Round Up

The cattle took off down the hill in full voice and snorts

Hooves shaking the ground

Powerful creatures running unloosed

After stoic feeding in the Top Field

Under cold, icy downpours.

These are no ponderous, ambling milkers

The cows follow the lines of electric wires

Wheeling right in the softer ground before the river

They charge on toward the far gate past the arched stone bridge

Barred but still seeking fresh grass the heavy, steaming beasts turn again

They bowl into the lower pasture

A swirling mass of black and browns

First they clear out the milk-drained ewes already mowing

Usher them impatiently beyond the fine wire

These bullies work together to secure their own fresh turf

Adolescent lambs in gangs take a few moments more to move on

Playful woollen springs, leaping and twisting in unruly bands

Having yet to meet the beef, they run up to play with their quadraped cousins

The introductions are brief, the rebuffals briefer

Lambs scatter bleating until gathered up

By blowing, lowing, wet noses

That urge them in their panicked crying up the slope

Bleats unanswered by oblivious mothers

Who learnt seasons ago to steer clear

When the herd arrives.

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CLP 09/05/2019