Last Friday as I ran past the field next to my house at the end of a long run in the burgeoning heat I wondered if cows suffered at all from having no shade and further, if their milk was turned sour of even if it came out as cream or butter. The wanderings of an unfettered and sweaty mind to be sure but as it turns out, as I found out later, Friday, July 12th was in fact Cow Appreciation Day.MILKMAIDS BOTTOM

This day, as with many other days of ‘celebration’, is the construct of a corporation, in this case Chick-a-Fil-A. No, I don’t know what it is either and you won’t find an explanation on their website as it is assumed everyone has heard of it. I am assuming its a chicken joint. Joint as in restaurant I mean.

Anyway on July 12th if you wear a partial cow costume to one of their branches(presumably in Ameri-kay) you get free food, or something. One could ask why a ‘partial ‘costume but I imagine it is Health & Safety reasons that stops them asking for top-to-toe bovine turnouts in the fear of having their outlets infested by collapsing, suffocating idiots who would die for fast food.

images (4)


Still, even though all this is a little ridiculous it doesn’t stop me appreciating cows. They aren’t my favourite creature to be sure but I like seeing them lolling about in the fields particularly because since recently read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which deals with factory farming, animal welfare has shot to the forefront of my thoughts to the point where I have actually stopped eating meat. Involuntarily. Me. A carnivore.

I am not sentimental about animals or about eating them but I really don’t think they should have to suffer the way they do not to mention that their suffering may lead to our own ill-health.

Of course I am more sentimental than some. I remember a friend telling me how he watched a documentary on the appalling living conditions of chicken with his brother. The brother watched in silence with a growing expression of disbelief on his face. When the end credits were rolling he finally yelled “But they’re only CHICKENS!”

Chickens and pigs seem to suffer the most though cows do get their fair share. But at least, around here anyway, they are allowed out in the fields to loll and ruminate and recline on their udders.

Anyhoo, before I wandered off on that particular tangent, this post was originally meant to be a picture of a cow and a Haiku I wrote to cows and their udders.

A Haiku is a 17 syllable poem, usually in the 5-7-5 format. It was developed in Japan and it is an interesting tool to write with in that it forces you to cut out unnecessary language, often resulting in very strong imagery. It’s also a style that suits me as I am terrible impatient to get back to doing nothing.



Basho, who lived in 17th century is the most famous proponent of this form and his Haikus are startingly immediate, tender and sometimes funny.


by my new banana plant
the first sign of something I loathe—
a miscanthus bud!


In my new robe
this morning
someone else.




an ancient pond
a frog jumps in
the splash of water


..and his last poem..


falling sick on a journey
my dream goes wandering
over a field of dried grass


Though purists insist Haiku should be written in Japanese and have only the natural world as their subject, one of my favourite Haikus is by John Cooper Clarke, punk poet…

John Cooper Clarke

JOHN COOPER CLARKE Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

To convey one’s mood
In seventeen syllables
Is very diffic


See what he did there?

And, finally, here is my Haiku, the one I went all around the houses to get to.

Their udders roundy pink
like whoopee cushions, cows loll
in the field next door.


Now, back to doing nothing…


6 responses to “APPRECIATING COWS

  1. There is huge farmer’s field down the street from my house, and every now and then a huge herd of cows is grazing in it. When I drive by they always look up at me. It’s nice, I appreciate them. I like your haiku.


  2. Just love your painting of the cows! Now long back from Garrarus where the cows seemed to be perilously close to the cliff edge but grazing away happily.
    I’d never have associated the haiku with appreciation of cows so that was one hell of a twist in the tale (pardon the pun!).


    • Thanks Jean. I meant to get down for another swim but had to paint the cow twice, going to have to practice cows more… Yes that post just took off on its own with me hanging on desperately behind. I managed to bring it to a halt or it could still be going but I love when that happens…:)


  3. Love your Haiku, brilliant….tried it myself but can’t quite hear the melody of the words in my ear? And yea John Cooper Clark went to see him once. My flatmate had an album of his and we played it over and over… him…..and loved this…..the wanderings of an unfettered and sweaty mind……….still smiling…..


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