The Country Walk ~~ by T.S. Eliot
“Of all the beasts that God allows
In England’s green and pleasant land,
I most of all dislike the Cows:
Their ways I do not understand.
It puzzles me why they should stare
At me, who am so innocent;
Their stupid gaze is hard to bear —
It’s positively truculent.
I’m very inconspicuous
And scarlet ties I never wear;
I’m not a London Transport Bus,
And yet at me they always stare.
You may reply, to fear a Cow
Is Cowardice the rustic scorns;
But still your reason must allow
That I am weak, and she has horns.
But most I am afraid when walking
With country dames in brogues and tweeds,
Who will persist in hearty talking
And stopping to discuss the breeds.
To country people Cows are mild,
And flee from any stick they throw;
But I’m a timid town bred child,
And all the cattle seem to know.
But when in fields alone I stroll,
Oh then in vain their horns are tossed,
In vain their bloodshot eyes they roll —
Of me they shall not make their boast.
Beyond the hedge or five-barred gate,
My sober wishes never stray;
In vain their prongs may lie in wait,
For I can always run away!
Or I can take sanctuary
In friendly oak or apple tree.”
Supposedly Eliot wrote this after an attack by a heifer. Supposedly Eliot hated large farm animals. Little Wussy Shihtoodle certainly doesn’t understand hating them “in general.” In general, he loves them & they love him.
There’s one particular cow, however, who has been quite irritable when Wussy has attempted to “tame” her. She wants nothing to do with the gentle, quiet Wussy. So Wussy just trots right on by on his way to the sheep. He doesn’t understand why she hasn’t been made into nice juicy hamburgers yet. He doesn’t realize just how many nice juicy steaks & burgers she HAS given us via her calves. I keep telling Wussy it’s nothing personal, she’s just quite irritable “in general.” To most everyone. To most everything.
As if she finds most of the world quite stupid. When I was reading Neil Gaiman’s ‘Anansi Boys’, I thought of her at one point because of the attitude & the name Daisy (since so many cows seem to be named Daisy). The Daisy in Gaiman’s book isn’t a cow, but the attitude kinda fits:
“Daisy looked up at him with the kind of expression that Jesus might have given someone who had just explained that he was probably allergic to bread and fishes, so could He possibly do him a quick chicken salad.”
Yesterday was like a balmy summer day, so Wussy & I took a walk out to the cows & sheep to sit in the field & read some Eliot.
As long as I was reading Eliot, tho, Wussy took the time to come up with a haiku about this lady, his least favorite cow:
“She will not flee sticks
Why make me get up she asks
I can be hateful”