The cows are clustered around the hay rack in the pasture across the street, a low moan rising out of the one lying off by itself. A few are eating. A calf lies in the curve of a large cow’s body, both heads erect, wet noses glistening, breath steaming.
I can see all this so clearly because I’m outside, on the porch, low sun on my lap, almost hot. I’ve written about this before, there’s a poem in my book titled “Warm December,” another poem was written right here, warm when it should have been cold.
This is where I come together, my feet
in white wool socks, the grass still patched
with green, open, a winter with no winter,
the warmest ever. Other people are scared
but I don’t care. Birds fly across the porch
under the grooved wooden ceiling, above
the railings. Small white pines are coming up
in the bit of pasture beyond the barbed wire
fence of the old calving pen where it doesn’t
get bush-hogged in August, the nature of nature.
That was eight years ago. The pattern continues. World leaders are in Paris trying to at least keep worse from happening, but this is going to be the warmest year ever, again. I think the world has always been this dire, the future, the violence, the inexplicable horrors that humans do to each other, or one does to another. We just know more about it, we know the full scope, information coming from everywhere all the time so our heads fill and fill with one tragedy and then the next, a massacre, a disaster, push notifications that ping my phone so I pick it up and read about the latest horrible thing.
I could shut off those notifications.
Last night poet friends gathered here and we ate and chatted and then all read what we’d written in response to a prompt David had come up with – Plagues We Have Known.We always have a prompt to write a poem for the Yogurt Poets holiday party, though past prompts have been gratitude, tradition, grace. Plagues was a whole new direction.
“What wonderful nerds are we?” said Hope as Kay talked about exploring the etymology of “plague.” Nancy had written 14 lines to each of the ten plagues visited on the Egyptians by God, Hope had written one line for each. David had used the metaphor of cell phones as progenitors of infection, a coming epidemic. Mary was happy to have been able to write anything. I was happy to listen to what everyone had written. A group of creative souls who write for an audience as small as the dozen of us, as small as themselves, because we love the beauty of poetry.
Now the calf has moved to lie against the back of the cow who was moaning earlier. The world is hazy with moisture and inappropriate heat.