By Marian Glaser © 1998
There was a calf called Ferdinand
who stared at the foals racing all over his owner’s land.
He huddled with his mother and his aunts, head down, munching grass,
pretending he belonged, wishing he’d been born an ass.
When he pawed the ground, glad he had become a heifer
he still felt like a zero, a cipher.
He grew larger, fiercer, got used to red rags.
At least he wasn’t destined to be killed slowly, while crowds
cheered and waved flags.
He found cows very attractive and liked the smell of flowers
even when a bee stung him or they were still damp from the almost
In winter he was snug in his pen and had the occasional cow brought to him.
He enjoyed mounting them even if the chances of seeing his progeny were very slim.
The flowers only bloomed in summer when he could sniff, gaze, graze,
pretend he was part of the herd,
charge at intruders, lie in cool green shade and not feel de trop or absurd.
As he chewed his portion of hay and oats he daydreamed of summer’s abundance
enjoying the security and trying not to worry about his own and his