Friday, December 3, 2021

To the Drowned Cows of the Flood Plains


In the long, low sheds where you have
spent your lives in captivity,
side by side in stanchions,
 unable to move about,
no one wants to think about
your terror 
when the floodwaters came in.

But I go there; hear you bellowing,
hooves flailing as you try to flee, and can't,
see your desperate eyes as the water rises
up your body, then covers your nose,
watch you go still.
I think of the baby calves,
their panic.

So painful
to think of your last minutes.
So unnatural, your lives,
attached to machines,
or sent to slaughter,
fully aware you were being herded
to your death.

Your bloated bodies
will be revealed
when the waters recede.
If you can live and die it,
I can bear witness,
send our collective
sorrow, grief and guilt
across the flooded

You lived and died
because of us.
When will we listen
well enough to hear
your anguished cries?

Mission City Record
Some calves were rescued
by any means possible.

Saanich News
(Volunteers are drying off the calves.)

for earthweal's open link. I attempted a Verse Letter to the cattle drowned in the Sumass Prairie floods in B.C. in November 2021, along with untold thousands of other animal deaths, both domestic and wild.


  1. This is heartbreaking and so hard to read. What an awful situation.

  2. That is a sad truth and the loss is felt.

  3. Oh dear - how awful. Farming on an industrial scale is one of the things I personally think needs to stop. It is utterly cruel.
    (you are a true animal sensitive - your awareness of the animals pain comes across in your poem.)

  4. So horrific, Sherry: and many people don't even think of them, but only of themselves. And yet we are all part of nature. I am pleased they managed to save some calves!

  5. I'm glad they managed to rescue some of them.
    My son and I live on the northeastern plains of Colorado. We have a long drive to any city. We always remark on the difference between the cows allowed to graze in the fields and those confined to feedlots. The feedlots stink to high heaven. There are both cattle and sheep feedlots along highway 14 into Fort Collins. There are a few pungent miles.
    This is not a healthy state for the animals to live in and it is why they are given antibiotics. Living in those conditions means they're constantly sick.
    Sigh. I know I'm preaching to the choir.

  6. The letter addresses their anguish and our averted gaze. Hard it is to stare this deeply into what we have done to them -- through our agriculture, and now through our cultured heat doom -- but there's no other way to take accout. Fine, feral work Sherry.

  7. This is just heartbreaking... so many things are wrong with large scale industrial farming...but senseless death of innocent animals because of human induced climate change is just wrong. You hit the nail on the head as always, Sherry.

  8. I cannot abide creulty to animals. Industrial farming is cruel and awful -- and reduces the quality of the food. We were astounded at how tasteless Canadian milk was on our visit to BC.


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