ello, haiku! and all goats go to heaven

do you know ello? unless you live under a larger rock than i do, you have probably heard about the start up of this new, simple, ad-free social media site. simple and ad-free are what i’m all about. part of my role as curmudgeon is to hate flashing, intrusive, obnoxious content that i didn’t ask for and don’t want to see. when they ship me off to hell at the end of my life, it will include auto-play videos and sponsored content. so check it out, weasel an invite, and keep ello going.

until they work out a privacy protocol, i’m using ello to post near-daily haiku. here’s an aggregate of what i’ve put there to date:

scarlet leaves like blood
of summer’s ritual death
beauty by demise

wide footprints of rain
left on asphalt like the tracks
of great sea creatures

a dark bark and howl
mother’s dogs hunting in packs
sly fierce coyotes

lion paws of mist
pouncing up from valley floors
to burn on the hills.

who weeps for old goats?
only those who have loved them.
dream deep, my old friend.

oak,  photo credit: yoannah czopnik
oak,
photo credit: yoannah czopnik

as you may surmise from the last, my elderly goat, the venerable, sweet, and handsome oak, has reached his end. i delivered him to his terminal vet appointment this morning. he would have been thirteen years old in the spring and he outlived his brother by five years. he’s had some rough patches over the last few years, but kept on ticking. his arthritis has become profound and painful and he stopped thriving about a month ago. he has lost about fifty pounds in that time while eating constantly, as goats do. it’s very, very sad to say goodbye. i’ve known him since i became his mama when he was just two days old. but there’s no doubt in my mind that he hurts and it’s time.

jenny and edward are still lurking around the old homestead, so i’m still in goats until i can find them a forever home. and then? no more goats and truly the end of an era.

the spindle

long skeins run north to south
in heather strands of grey
with flecks of white and black spun in
knitting winter from the winds
blending soft angora flakes of snow
with rugged red and chestnut wool
to craft a fabric that wraps the world
in somnolent silence
the seed of summer lies quiet
a small death that will spin
backward come april when the
long skeins run south to north again
pulling the yarns of wool away
letting the warm silk breezes of may
weave a warmer garment still

horseshoe nails

the line between utility and art
is blurred in this pale, pointed dart.
heavy, sharply silver nail
uniform in every part.

ode to a cow

dawn: gray and silver, chill frost.
cold pail.
the morning is painted in metal: gold, platinum, silver
and earth: ochre, umber, black, and soil.
the hinges of the handle of the pail creak and jingle.
small cloven hooves of caprines skip over the pale grass.
the cattle lift their heads, massive furzy heads
with tufts of dark hair, light hair, cow licks.
they lick furzy lips, tasting the memory of grain
and move as one toward me.
gold creeps above the treeline.
eight geese fly over, their wings like slingshots,
flinging air, then a single cry and they’re gone.
i set breakfast for the calves and goats
and lead the cow inside, her calf just there.
he sniffs the pail and huffs and collapses in the hay,
his stomach full, her front quarter empty.
the stool sits next to her flank, the pail against her hoof
and her right rear begins to drip, a soft plink on the side,
the cold silver pail trembles.
we go to work, she and i, my hands moving to the rhythm of her
chewing.
sometimes the beat of the milk brings a song.
folk song.
oh, susannah.
shenandoah.
and the world stops. it’s just the cow and me
and that cold pail
in the cold pale.