Contemplating a Highland Cow

With the passing of May here at our new home in the Tennessee mountains, we are reminded of all our May visits to Iona and the Outer Hebrides, now many years ago.  This poem was written in 2003, after an encounter with a Heilan’ Coo (that’s Highland Cow to the uninitiated!) on a croft at the east end of Iona.  These are huge, yet placid creatures, wild and wooley in appearance, but quite contemplative in nature.  The photo is not from Iona, but from our visit to Tulloch Farm in Glen Spean in the Highlands, a couple of years ago. ~ Will

Coo Brown Closeup

The Brown Bull of Langandorain

He stood in gathering darkness
on his hillock;
stared us down
as if he were some god
upon a mountain height.
(Will is greatest
in the senseless or the proud,
who have no fear of consequence,
or curiousity
about what happens next.)
He could have offered us the hand
of blessing, or of curse,
for all we knew.
Or gifted us,
for better or for worse,
with some deep knowledge;
sung an ancient air
that would have hung like magic
in the darkness there.
But he silent stood, as we,
and moments passed until
we tired of the wait
and traveled on, at last.

(C) Will Melnyk, May, 2003

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