That winter the cows would surround us
in the darkness, feeling like omens
against our fearful skins, fat tongues unrolling
to taste us, fermented straw-mist on their breaths
and ours, them coming through the thick mists
on our hillside, us across fields returning
to the cottage from drowning our terror.
Sometimes on no-moon nights the jigsaws
of their hides appeared so quietly from the dark
there was almost no time to scream and scream
as they bumped and pushed us from their peace.
Now they are long dead. Still their generations
do the same. Their children know us, harry us.