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,
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,
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.