The Birth

Nine o’clock clammy night

black as welsh cattle.

 

Came to us talking of imminent birth

Out there, he said. Were we up to it?

Yes, he would be along later,

– after Match of the Day.

 

Moon rising, we met his lassitude

with a casual ‘maybe’,

but quick mac’d and booted,

torches flashing on the cow-licked field.

 

Hello, giant moon-blessed shadow.

We stopped; the cow stood, bearing down,

breath hard and harsh,

she minded by sympathetic aunty.

Shush, then, Charlie black cat,

mischievous annoyance

grass-dancing around her

black belted body.

 

Eleven O’Clock. When?

Inexperienced midwives, we,

watchful and distant, waiting.

Then came striding,

wielding giant forceps, he,

confidently night-wards.

 

One o’clock: Mucoused arms

deep in steaming buckets.

In our stinking, straining

eye bulging exhaustion,

we came of age

as the calf slipped from her, to be

tongue-tickled in warm, damp grass,

aunty traipsing off to herald the new arrival.

 

He, tired, emotional, nodded thanks,

and we, looking back, reluctantly retiring,

whooping, giving high-fives and mooing.

Published by

Julia Dean-Richards

Julia is a writer and performer living in the Shropshire hills. Her writing is a product and expression of the love she has found whilst journeying through the most difficult times of her life.

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