The Cow Factory
Come, let us go then, you and I
(Take my hand, there, that’s it)
To the place where they make the cows.
Peering like outsiders through the rusting fence
At the old loading bay, where bovines reverse and change gear
In their natural, nodding rhythm of working life.
Where machines once clanked, thistles now whir soundlessly
Their pollen spinning like ethereal cogs and rivets, reaching
To the rusty ducts and pipes swinging far above.
The ground has come full circle.
Like trees that bend to their roots the building burrows,
A great brick homing pigeon coming in to land.
Shattered window-eyes search slowly for the trees,
Hermit-like bricks retreating shyly from mortar to dust.
Crumbling chimneys gaze longingly at the early morning mist
That whispers of the river rattle and rush of timelessness.
What was made here? The cows don’t remember.
(Only calves now, you snigger.)
Then you turn away, and I follow, feet slipping in the loose soil.
And the cows seem to know that even though we are leaving
The real work has still not yet begun.
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