Bethany Reid, “Irish Cows”

Bethany Reid’s Sparrow won the 2012 Gell Poetry Prize. Her recent poetry books are Body My House (Goldfish Press, 2018), and The Thing with Feathers, which was published as part of Triple No. 10 by Ravenna Press (2020). She lives in Edmonds, Washington, and blogs at

orange line

Irish Cows

On the winding road up the coast to Dingle
cows stop traffic, their black and white flanks,
their billowing udders, pink muzzles,
sturdy jaws chomping as they walk,
ponderous unwieldy boats jostling

one another in a narrow passage.
Our rental car is small and white,
splashed with mud. It might be one
of their kind. The cowman raises his stick
in greeting, gives us a wink.

We are one car in a long row of cars.
Far back a car horn honks. Always, this discontent
with being human. One cow flicks her tail
and trots a few bold steps, then settles back
among her kin and trudges on.





3 thoughts on “Bethany Reid, “Irish Cows”

  1. This poem captures what I experienced in 1978 on a trip to Ireland with some college friends. Only we saw the herd of cows walking down the dirt main street in the village of Doneraile. None of us were farm girls, so cows up close were new to us. It was our introduction to Ireland and I’ll never forget it. I love the imagery you’ve created…..the cows are perfectly described..their beauty and their nonchalance.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And — the exquisite and sudden delayed contrast between the cows and ourselves, these always-discontent humans, impatiently barricaded inside of our motorized (and exhaust-emitting) carapaces.These startling turns and sudden contrasts are one of the things I love most about Reid’s poetry. Thanks for publishing this for our delighted meditation.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s