Goodbye – stotty boys

The two boys have been together for some weeks now, grazing on the lush grass around the house.
Today is their last day on the farm- the place they were born:
they are content to belong here.
Due to move three miles to my neighbour’s pristine pastures-
they don’t come to my call.
Shaking a feed bag, ‘Come o-oon boys’
fails to lure them from the fence where they enjoy closeness with the suckling mothers
in Mrs Logan’s meadow.

So I unite them,
opening the gate to the main herd.
Holly comes out first off the blocks beating me to the crest of the hill,
black Abby and Angus Halfhorn follow close-
and, to my relief, the stotty boys.
These five are up to the yard first; I close the gate holding the rest back.
The trough cleared, the breeders are shed to rejoin their tardy companions.
With the boys secure in the yard, I can return the herd to the pasture
briefly vacated.
My German guests: Claus, Ruth, Alice & Fabian wander down to observe-
or so they think.
Fabian is sent to the yard to walk down behind,
when this fails, Alice is sworn in as bagrattler while I urge Angus down the road.
As the stragglers start on the return journey, Claus alerts me:
Abby, always urgent for feed, has barged through Alice’s defences
to bury her head in the bag.
Alice, unused to bovine importunity, bravely keeps hold of the bag,
until I relieve her, rolling the quad downhill,
the beasts following.
On the final slope the feed bag bumps out of the footwell
spilling nuts on the grass.
I swear as I take my hands from the bars to recover the bag,
the bike veers to the side
bumping over rocks
gaining speed.
I pull the bag onboard and transfer to the brake,
jumping down to gather the spilt concentrate
as the animals gather round.
If they find it -they will not follow down to the gate,
but the ground is clear now
and they are happy enough to compete for the remaining booty
as I spread it inside the fence where they will lodge ’til summer is gone.
Did I forget something?..

Oh yes – back up the road to load the boys-
and bid them goodbye.




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