How to Write a Poem

First, get a cow.

Why a cow, you ask?  Well, it could be a chicken, I suppose, or even a dog.  A few deer could wander through.  But a poem, especially a first poem, can definitely use the sturdy architecture and sweet domesticity of a cow to build itself around.  You can lean against a cow.  She won’t run away unexpectedly.

Cows never mock and are utterly sincere.  They will either listen to your poem with soft brown eyes, or they will eat grass and ignore you.  Consider this freedom to keep going.

You don’t have to be your most clever with cows.  You need neither witty dinner party banter nor tony restaurant.  Cows appreciate simplicity.

Melodic lowing makes for beautiful score.

As an aside, cows seem to understand birds.  This becomes important later on down the road in other poems.

You need something for her to eat.  A first effort might have you move toward those first, tender shoots of spring, though she may already be ready for clover or even bramble.  Decide once you get to know her, and lead her there.

Her days would be of blue sky, green grass, dandelions, bees.  She will lie down in the field when it rains, in acceptance.

Somewhere within her lines lurks a wolf.

At the end of her day, quietly lead her home.

Head out, then, across your green hills, into the white light of the day.  Take us with you, down to the creek where she drinks, where you played as a boy, and show us the smooth wet stones.  Wash them in the creek, turn them over and run your finger over them.  Make us yearn to do the same.

When we are there, when all is quiet save for the babble of the creek, you can share with us your secrets.

And we, your faithful readers, will keep them.


© Melissa I. Hassard

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