Cows - Early Morning on the Levels

Cows on the Somerset Levels
Photo Roger Harper -
this has to be my favourite poem and got me the highest marks on my degree.

Its silent here
I wait in the morning for the first beams
of sunlight.
There is a frost and I see a stream
of mist; it is
the warm breath from the mouths
of my sisters.
It creates the fragile fog forming
by the rhynes.

My sisters and I hear the call of
the early rooks as they crow
when flying from their roosts.
We shake the dew from our hooves
and crystals plunge
without sound
into the ground.
The land smiles.
Pearls of dew reflect the rays
of the early sun
onto pea green willow trees.

Sisters shuffle restlessly,
aware of time, aware of
Swallows and Swifts
diving above deep green fields
and ditches,
scooping up sleepy insects.
We hear the farmer, with his dog,
calling and whistling.
Meggy?  Meggy?

Voices echo across the empty levels,

a distant dog barks in reply.

Now comes the slow, painful walk.
The struggle with our too heavy teats,
as we are herded along
to the milking sheds
It is a struggle, I know, because
I am the cow that led
my sisters to stand here,
to be milked by the machines
that replaced the man,
who called and whistled to his dog
on this frosty April morning.

1        a rhyne  is the Somerset name for a ditch or canal.

Summer Barolo


The Muscadet you left was so bleh.
So sharp, acidic, dissolving the glass.
It was in the cold months that you left
leaving this house to shiver
rather like I felt tasting your Muscadet.

In the spring, I open the first ros
of spring, the earthy, so pink flowers -
the taste makes me, flush, blush.
But, spring flowers never stay for long -
like you when you finally popped your cork.

Now summer is here my desire is for a deep red.
I may pick up a rough and ready Chianti or
maybe a smooth expensive Barolo for
muskiness, deeper passion and warmth.
But the Barolo's cork comes out 
pops softly and spills,
staining the soft, white, linen.
I drink in this deep, delicious moment.
I breathe in aromas of this glorious, sensuous time,
then replete I luxuriate and look forward to
winter with mulled wine and lots of spice.

copyright Diana Leighton 2013