Friday, February 21, 2014


(There are two basic kinds of girl:
those who want to be a princess;
and those who want to be a pioneer.)

On a frozen winter evening
In a barn down at the dairy
Sits a maiden on a tall stool
Dressed in jeans and rubber boots.
In her hand she has a copy
Of a National Geographic
Which she reads in stolen moments
From her labors cold and wearing
Midst the smell of fresh manure,
And the pulsing sound of milkers
While the Holsteins chew their barley.

There between the yellow covers
Is the story of far travel:
Down a river called Zambezi
Sixteen hundred miles of water
From Zambia to Namibia
Round the corner to Botswana
Back to Zambia, past Zimbabwe
Over vast Victoria Falls.
Mozambique, then to the ocean
Rolls the river of Zambezi
Full of snorting, lumpy hippos.

There dwell baboons, snakes (black mambas)
Elephants, oxpeckers, catfish.
Crocodiles yawn in the shadows.
Cormorants fly overhead.
There the people fish the channels,
Paddle canoes full of cargo
As they have for generations
To the towns along the river
Where, “To travel is to dance.”

Soon the maiden at the dairy
Puts away her hasty reading,
Goes back to the heavy Holsteins;
Washes warm and steaming udders
While the motor of the milkers
And the country music station
Accompanies her wishing
To do something in her lifetime
That few women ever do.

E. Black 


Anonymous said...

For some girls, milking a cow would be an adventure..but..where would we be without our dreams.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh its was you it was you. I love this it is great writing. You have done so much since the smell of manure and the sound of the milking machines Great writing. Hug B

Joanne Noragon said...

You need a cartoon with bloggers sitting on stools, stomping their feet and hollering Huzzah, huzzah, E. Black.
Very nicely done!

Alica said...

I'm still hanging out with the smell of manure and the sound of the's to dreaming! :) :)

Val said...

I want to sit in a dairy and read National Geographic! But not write poetry or do any milking. That would be too hard.

Janice Grinyer said...

You write beautifully...and speak truth. Sometimes even I see cows themselves looking off to the distance, while their neighbors continue to graze, and I wonder what they are thinking - thoughts on better pastures? on what humans do? what is the purpose?


One thing i do notice about getting older - our hearts beat the same tempo as they did when we were teenagers...

Carla said...

What a lovely poem! Thanks for sharing.

Terry and Linda said...

I can't seem to get my dreams to the real place.....