The Climb; Bovine Grace

The Climb

for Geoff Bell

Heaving breath slows

on Paton’s Hill

in full view of the climb’s reward.


The Great Divide is a dragon’s tail

curled beside the Breadalbane Plain.

The beast’s breath turns distant glinting blades.

Dogs rustle dry grass

a fly hums at ear level

birds cry

engines thrum remotely

from the highway.


until a plane swoops low

and loud

with dipped wing salute.

The pilot chose flight post-cancer.

Last week

friends found another foil-wrapped egg

in their garden

long after his inaugural Easter airdrop.

A Puckish sense of play makes each day count.

Bovine Grace

Cattle are hospitable creatures
with one or two endearing features.

They act as host with bovine grace
to brazen birds which bag a place

at intervals along their spine
from head to tail in a single line.

While cows munch grass and chew their cud

birds dice lice that suck their blood.

A cow’s philosophy includes the clause:
You itch my back and I’ll hitch yours.

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