Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksOctober 7, 2022

The Friday Poem: ‘Holy Cow’ by Vivienne Plumb

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem from poet and playwright Vivienne Plumb.

Holy Cow

A sky the colour of ginger ale,
and the cows are standing up on their back
legs in the snow, holy, holy;
it’s a miracle, says Hone.

He hitched a ride as far as Waiouru,
on his way to the Christian camp.
Our road is a river, a river

of grey cement, the snow lies packed
on the Desert Road, someone
has built an impenetrable igloo;

we make snowballs, holy, holy,
the sheep pray with their noses stuck in
a snowdrift. Professional Farm Services

has shut up shop; it’s a big dump
says Hone, impressed, although
the snow is a little dirty

around the edges, though still thick,
and riding above us is a monster
cloud, striding across the firmament,

possessing legs and arms, a dark
nebula body with a five o’clock
shadow, holy cow, says Hone,
drive fast, before the Desert Road closes.

On the other side of the plateau
we stop so that he can purchase
a Lotto ticket, why don’t you name

your poem ‘Lotto’, he suggests, and they
might sponsor you. A total
millennial, smart phone glued

to his hand and he believes in its
virtual reality. But me,
a post-second-World-War baby,

hoarding bullets and string for what I’m
sure will be the next revolution;
the cows look like they’re waving Lotto
tickets in their cud-chewing maws.
How can they afford them, asks Hone,
when they don’t get paid? That’ll be the

beginning, I gently inform him,
the beginning of the next big change,
because cows and sheep will have to be
paid; holy, holy.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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