The Mighty Cow

As up the Nile I sailed a dhow I ruminated on the cow. It’s not a creature much admired Few poets have found themselves inspired To pen a glowing line or four

About the bovine beast’s allure. Few hearts will flutter as it passes Save those in those without their glasses Who, mistaking the quadruped on its course, Confuse it with the haughty horse.

Now there’s an animal of high repute Clearly, though, an overrated brute. It’s wont to prance and strut about And snort, disdainful, through its snout,

As if the world owed it a living For all the thrills it thinks its giving. But let me set a few things right, The lordly equine’s none too bright.

For instance, round an oval track, A gaudy person on its back, It runs like mad in certain pain A pointless route from here to here again

And for this effort what’s its pay? A sugar cube and a hunk of hay While its owner may apply his take To a hearty meal and a piece of cake.

And another thing the horse will do Without so much as a cry or hue Is pull a coach in a long parade While it’s thirty seven* in the shade. ​*If for Celsius you still say nix, In Fahrenheit, it’s ninety eight point six

On the other hand, the smarter cow Such silliness would not allow. It spends its days in soft repose With clover sweet between its toes.

Its greatest effort, besides some mooing, Is to move its mouth in the act of chewing, Which action it then must follow With the strain that’s needed for a swallow.

In sunny fields it grows more wise With time to muse and philosophize. It does not strut and cannot prance And rarely joins a peasant dance.

It never bites more than it can chew And oft will take an hour or two Of ease right after its ingestion That is a clear aid to digestion.

A wise approach since its usual comestible Ranks low on the list of things digestible, And in this the cow shows education The key lesson of which is slow mastication

In meadows green it spends its day, Then strolls to the barn to pay its way. Not much for one of cowish ilk, The rent is just a pail of milk.

So who would doubt the cow’d be best In any intelligence-quotient test. To follow grammar to the letter I should say the cow’d be better.

And yet despite the brilliance of the cow Despite its intellectual-looking brow, Despite the music of its moo, Few will give the beast its due.

They’d rather exaggerate and brag About the exploits of some nag Whose only role, all myths aside Was to give some human type a ride.

In almost every market square You’ll find a bronze horse standing there But the only reason it’s on its feet Is to give some general a lofty seat.

It’s a role a cow would soon eschew That of model for the town statue Yet if they’d offer the part just once or twice To a deserving Jersey it might be nice.

For cows, you know, are people, too, They’ve got feelings, like me and you, Though generally they keep them quiet I think it’s something in their diet.

So next you catch the cerebral gaze Of a Guernsey pausing in its graze Imagine how this worthy ruminant Might look supporting General Grant.


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