a herd of cows does not need a choreographer
left to themselves
they always fall into tableaux
of the most ineluctable grandeur
Michelangelo might weep—
mere swift humans
fail to even see them

reclining in massive undulations of serenity
or standing velvet Parthenon
milking the raw green grass
they simultaneously shit innocent shit
piss innocent piss
eyes drowning in golden syrup,
slowly mothering
their retinue of flies


how to flinch without flinching?
itch without itching?
smell without stink?
perhaps we kill and eat them
out of an unconscious
paroxysm of envy

whenever I find myself speeding
inches above the graven earth
past bovined paddocks
I long to stop the car
get out
and go lie down with the cows forever

Douglas Wright was born in Tuakau in 1956. He has been a dancer/choreographer for thirty years. He has published two memoirs, Ghost Dance (2004) and Terra Incognito (2006), both with Penguin, and two books of poetry, laughing mirror (2007) and cactusfear (2011), both published by Steele Roberts.

Poem source details >



Douglas Wright's website
Arts Foundation author page