Ode to Shasta

The cow in my backyard isn’t so very large.

She eats grain, grass and hay; drinks thirty gallons, plus, a day.

She hasn’t many teeth -you know, only enough for one row,

The bottom – I think, the top is gums, hard and pink.

Her nose is quite wet, covered with beads of sweat.

Her eyes are big and shiny, placed out so she can see her behiny’.

Her tongue is as rough as can be, it hurts when she licks me.

The poor dear has a funny udder, a true dairyman would shudder.

One quarter is so small, there’s scarcely any milk at all.

The back two hold the most, but they lean together too close.

“Kissing quarters” they’ve been called; the AI tech was truly appalled.

“Let’s breed for good-udder genetics-that bag certainly favors eugenics!”

Only one quarter to go, this is the one that’s slow,

So slow it seems the valve is shut, you have to work hard to open ‘er up.

By the time that big one is done I ache from shoulder to thumb.

I sit back in my stool, guzzle a cup before it’s cool.

Then hand another to my son – another milking time is done.

In the house I pour and fill, clean glass jars – all ready to chill.

In twelve hours or less, a creamline appears – mmm the best!

Her cream is so yellow and sweet; in coffee or pie – oh what a treat!

Back to the barn I must go to see if her hay or water is low.

Those two she must always have, particularly before the calf.

It’s due in month seven, on the twentieth – oh heaven!

Nothing is so dear as having a calf here – in my backyard!

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