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Twelve white cattle on the crest,

Milk-white against the chicory skies,

Six gazing south, six gazing west

With the blue distance in their eyes.

Twelve white cattle standing still.

Why should they move?  There are no flies

To tease them on this wind-washed hill.

Twelve white cattle utterly at rest.

Why should they graze?  They are past grazing.

They have cropped the grass, they have had their fill.

Now they stand gazing, they stand gazing.

Only the tall redtop about their knees

And the white clouds above the hill

Move in the softly moving breeze.

The cattle move not, they are still.


Robert Francis



From Late Fire, Late Snow: New and Uncollected Poems,
University of Massachusetts Press,  1992 by the Trustees
for the Estate of Robert Francis.  Reprinted by permission.

Background by
Candlecreek Graphics

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