Sept06 Cows & shedHaving built Sheila’s little 2-cow milking shed in 2007, with attached feed store, dog kennels, chicken run and pig sty, I got to thinking about cows and their lives. I wrote the following verse and sent it to The George Herald, where it duly appeared.

The Milking Shed.

See all the ladies standing there

At the factory gate.

Some impatient, some dont care

If they open late.

 Some of the old hands just barge in

For their ration meal.

Theyll knock over pail and bin

With determined zeal.

 The new girls, they stand shyly, they

Dont know where to go.

They have to be shown the way,

Have to take it slow.

 So recently theyve dropped their calves,

Some are still in pain,

Their eyes still sunken, tails still arched,

Reach out for the grain.

 Around and round and round they go,

Calve and milk, then dry.

The eternal cycles all they know,

til the day they die.

Peter J. Earle – 2008.

 It amuses my screwed up little mind that verse means heifers in Afrikaans.

Michelle Blanckenberg of the George Herald who compiles “Penveer”, meaning “Quill”, which consisted of 2 pages of prose and poetry to which readers subscribe, also thanked me for my poem, “Yesterday‘s Soul”.  She says she enjoyed it and agreed with me that Hannes Visser, our neighbour here in the village of Haarlem who subscribes almost every week to Penveer, is a special man. He was a teacher, artist and poet before becoming the editor of the Oudtshoorn Courant newspaper in Oudshoorn. With luck, I shall shortly get an interview with him to share some of his thoughts and achievements.

Yesterday’s Soul.

 Observe, my friend, the picture that you painted yesterday.

It stands upon its easel by the tubes still on their tray.

The sunlit attic window holds the oils sharp. They glisten.

You see right through the painting and you tilt your head to listen:

You hear, my friend, the voices calling softly from your dreams.

Was this really in your vision? Is this image what it seems?

You still can feel the tremble of the paintbrush in your hand

As you raised up the mountains and you forested the land.

You still can hear the gushing of the pure, clean mountain stream.

With your soul and hand uniting, you immortalised your dream.


But now, today, you’re frowning and you shiver, though it’s warm.

Is there discord in the mind? Did your hand distort the form?

The figures in the foreground, do they grimace or smile?

Walk they the path of freedom or tramp they the gallows aisle?

You hear the drumbeat plainly, see the dancers move and sway –

Do they still feel the rhythm as they felt it yesterday?

But ah! I hear you laughing. Is it bitterly or gay?

Are they not lost forever, those dreams of yesterday?

Come, hold your head up proudly – give me answers to these things,

Is that your heart a-crying, or that your soul that sings?

Peter J. Earle. 1971.


Geo Herald ads 2008 -1Life is full of amazing coincidences. I add one here from the smalls in The George Herald. A daughter advertised in the Personal column looking for her father in the city of George. Further on in the Services section, her father advertised Home Alterations. I sent her his number.

About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 6 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom - #1' 'Medicinal Purposes Only - #2', and 'Children Apart - #3; and 'Tribes of Hillbrow'; all from Southern Africa.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Shaping a writer, South Africa and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s