Saturday, May 14, 2005



Yesterday, and the day before that,
the cows ate grass.
Tomorrow, and the next, and every day after that,
the cows will eat grass.
They'll eat until they can't stand up,
and even then, collapsed upon the earth in their last hours,
if they can reach it with their mouths, they'll eat grass.
They'll eat until they've eaten it all, until there are only
a few stray blades
halfway buried under boulders--then
they'll nudge aside the boulders
with their large and knowing lips,
and eat that grass, too.
Only the smallest calves, today,
the ones no bigger than dogs, are lying down.
They gaze out onto the landscape like dreamers:
the sky marbled with fatty clouds;
the cherry trees beginning to leaf;
the first few poppies, unfurling their cadmium banners;
the fences making some things possible, and others difficult;
the shadows falling from, and following, each thing;
and the world seems so strange, so common and wondrous
at once, that the calves ask the cows eating grass,
Is this all there is?
And the answer comes back from mouths full of grass:
This is all there is.

Ruth Schwartz