Cow Worship, By Gerald Stern


I love the cows best when they are a few feet away

from my dining-room window and my pine floor,

when they reach in to kiss me with their wet

mouths and their white noses.

I love them when they walk over the garbage can

and across the cellar doors,

over the sidewalk and through the metal chairs

and the birdseed.

--Let me reach out through the thin curtains

and feel the warm air of May.

It is the temperature of the whole galaxy,

all the bright clouds and clusters,

beasts and heroes,

glittering singers and isolated thinkers

at pasture.

From “This Time: New and Selected Poems” by Gerald Stern (W.W. Norton: 288 pp., $27.50)