Profit and loss

Profit and loss

No grass in the pastures
brown-crisped by the sun,
too many mouths to feed,
too many mothers and their young to keep,
too dear the hay, too cheap the milk,
too little, too much, not enough.

So the cows low in their sunless sheds,
in their shackles, and each listens
for the voice of her child
as the truck pulls away.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

16 thoughts on “Profit and loss”

    1. It’s a cruel business altogether. The farmers were given subsidies to overproduce (their cows were made to overproduce) and we ended up with a milk lake and dairy being shoved in kids’ faces as essential, just to use some of it up. Because there’s a surplus, the price has dropped, but instead of reducing production they produce even more.
      What we choose not to remember is that cows only produce milk for a calf, a calf they’re subsequently not allowed to feed, that subsequently goes to the abattoir because it’s function has been fulfilled. I hate the whole business.

  1. I hear the drought is bad there. And where I am, we have heavy floods. The weather has really gone haywire.
    You capture the pain of this zero sum game of people and animals so well in this poem.

    1. It is bad, and the dairy farmers keep too many animals to feed them outside on these diminishing pastures. In the old days, farmers only kept as many cows as they had pasture for, and meadows to provide fodder for the winter. It’s a production line now and cows are just milk machines.

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