Hardcore Pastorals: Poems by Rebecca Hawkes

By | 31 October 2021

I am an astoundingly beautiful cow and I know my fate
it’s a prey thing anticipating slaughter
bring out my missing sons my spoiled daughters
regardless of your romantic rural virtues
in husbandry and abundance it is nevertheless as you suspect
I know all about your mistakes and am judging you
behind my placid bimbo gaze I calculate
the leached nitrates the cargo of conflict phosphates
the torturous farrowing crates the ever inventive
cruelties of efficiency but there are new ways
or more so old oh baby look me in the eye
when you’re killing me make it personal
do not do me the disrespect of doubt
do not take a single one of us for granted
show me to the promised rotational grazing
reveal your plenteous riparian plantings
fence off your wetlands
cherish your eels and eschew intensity
because the soil still lives
and it loves on you bounteously
even in your smoky metallic cages you know it
isn’t just economic some abstract wealth-generating asset
but teacher shelter maker mother just like me
your walking temple to the womb
and all your modern systems of governance
kneel to this iconic fertility goddess
bouncing my ample natural capital up the country lane
so bitches you’d better marvel
you’d better eat drink and be merry
do not just cruise past in that decrepit Subaru Legacy
you feast from these paddocks already
even if you have never set foot in them
you drink the milk chlorophyll charmed in my rumen
although you have not yet solved your problem of meat
you are something like me I think in kinship
you upright wolves you wet-eyed feeling fiends
sisters sisters sisters sisters
your tiny hearts swelling like bladders
take your place in the herd of dying things
let us jump all the fences and piss in the rivers
yes you already eat of these fields
now get down on all fours and graze

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