close close2 chevron-circle-left chevron-circle-right twitter bookmark4 facebook3 twitter3 pinterest3 feed4 envelope star

Cow Poems

Table of Contents

Cow Poems
Cows in a Field
by Heinrich von Zügel
  1. Bringing Home the Cows by Charles G. D. Roberts
  2. Driving Home the Cows by Kate Putnam Osgood
  3. The Cow Pasture by Charles G. D. Roberts
  4. When Milking-Time is Done by Charles G. D. Roberts
  5. Where the Cattle Come to Drink by Charles G. D. Roberts
  6. The Cow in Apple Time by Robert Frost
  7. The Outlaw by Charles Badger Clark
  8. Short Cow Poems for Children

  9. Thank You, Pretty Cow by Jane Taylor
  10. The Breakfast Song by Emilie Poulsson
  11. The Cow by Robert Louis Stevenson
  12. Milking Time by Elizabeth Madox Roberts


All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.

– Grant Wood, American Painter
  1. When Milking-Time is Done

    When Milking Time is Done
    Ferme à Venoix
    by Christian Skredswig
    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    When milking-time is done, and over all
    This quiet Canadian inland forest home
    And wide rough pasture-lots the shadows come,
    And dews, with peace and twilight voices, fall,
    From moss-cooled watering-trough to foddered stall
    The tired plough-horses turn,—the barnyard loam
    Soft to their feet,—and in the sky's pale dome
    Like resonant chords the swooping night-jars call.

    The frogs, cool-fluting ministers of dream,
    Make shrill the slow brook's borders; pasture bars
    Down clatter, and the cattle wander through,—
    Vague shapes amid the thickets; gleam by gleam
    Above the wet grey wilds emerge the stars,
    And through the dusk the farmstead fades from view.

  2. Driving Home the Cows

    The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes;
    For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb,

    – Kate Putnam Osgood
    Driving Home the Cows
    by Kate Putnam Osgood

    Out of the clover and blue-eyed grass
    He turned them into the river lane;
    One after another he let them pass,
    Then fastened the meadow bars again.

    Under the willows and over the hill,
    He patiently followed their sober pace;
    The merry whistle for once was still,
    And something shadowed the sunny face.

    Only a boy! and his father had said
    He never could let his youngest go:
    Two already were lying dead,
    Under the feet of the trampling foe. ...

    But after the evening work was done,
    And the frogs were loud in the meadow-swamp,
    Over his shoulder he slung his gun,
    And stealthily followed the footpath damp.

    Across the clover, and through the wheat,
    With resolute heart and purpose grim:
    Though the dew was on his hurrying feet,
    And the blind bat's flitting startled him.

    Thrice since then had the lanes been white,
    And the orchards sweet with apple-bloom;
    And now, when the cows came back at night,
    The feeble father drove them home.

    For news had come to the lonely farm
    That three were lying where two had lain;
    And the old man's tremulous, palsied arm
    Could never lean on a son's again.

    The summer day grew cool and late:
    He went for the cows when the work was done;
    But down the lane, as he opened the gate,
    He saw them coming one by one:

    Brindle, Ebony, Speckle, and Bess,
    Shaking their horns in the evening wind;
    Cropping the buttercups out of the grass,
    But who was it following close behind?

    Loosely swung in the idle air
    The empty sleeve of army blue;
    And worn and pale, from the crisping hair,
    Looked out a face that the father knew.

    For close-barred prisons will sometimes yawn,
    And yield their dead unto life again;
    And the day that comes with a cloudy dawn,
    In golden glory at last may wane.

    The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes;
    For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb,
    And under the silent evening skies
    Together they followed the cattle home.

  3. Bringing Home the Cows

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    When potatoes were in blossom,
    When the new hay filled the mows,
    Sweet the paths we trod together,
    Bringing home the cows.

    What a purple kissed the pasture,
    Kissed and blessed the alder-boughs,
    As we wandered slow at sundown,
    Bringing home the cows!

    How the far-off hills were gilded
    With the light that dream allows.
    As we built our hopes beyond them,
    Bringing home the cows!

    How our eyes were bright with visions,
    What a meaning wreathed our brows,
    As we watched the cranes, and lingered,
    Bringing home the cows!

    Past the years, and through the distance,
    Throbs the memory of our vows.
    Oh, that we again were children,
    Bringing home the cows!

  4. The Cow Pasture

    The Cow Pasture
    Near Liverpool, New South Wales
    by William Piguenit
    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    I see the harsh, wind-ridden, eastward hill,
    By the red cattle pastured, blanched with dew;
    The small, mossed hillocks where the clay gets through;
    The grey webs woven on milkweed tops at will.
    The sparse, pale grasses flicker, and are still.
    The empty flats yearn seaward. All the view
    Is naked to the horizon's utmost blue;
    And the bleak spaces stir me with strange thrill.

    Not in perfection dwells the subtler power
    To pierce our mean content, but rather works
    Through incompletion, and the need that irks, —
    Not in the flower, but effort toward the flower.
    When the want stirs, when the soul's cravings urge,
    The strong earth strengthens, and the clean heavens purge.

  5. The Cow in Apple Time

    by Robert Frost

    Something inspires the only cow of late
    To make no more of a wall than an open gate,
    And think no more of wall-builders than fools.
    Her face is flecked with pomace and she drools
    A cider syrup. Having tasted fruit,
    She scorns a pasture withering to the root.
    She runs from tree to tree where lie and sweeten
    The windfalls spiked with stubble and worm-eaten.
    She leaves them bitten when she has to fly.
    She bellows on a knoll against the sky.
    Her udder shrivels and the milk goes dry.

  6. Where the Cattle Come to Drink

    Where the Cattle Come to Drink
    Cattle Watering Under an Oak Tree
    by Thaddeus Welch
    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    At evening, where the cattle come to drink,
    Cool are the long marsh-grasses, dewy cool
    The alder thickets, and the shallow pool,
    And the brown clay about the trodden brink.
    The pensive afterthoughts of sundown sink
    Over the patient acres given to peace;
    The homely cries and farmstead noises cease,
    And the worn day relaxes, link by link.

    A lesson that the open heart may read
    Breathes in this mild benignity of air,
    These dear, familiar savours of the soil,—
    A lesson of the calm of humble creed,
    The simple dignity of common toil,
    And the plain wisdom of unspoken prayer.

  7. The Outlaw

    The Outlaw
    The Troublemaker
    by William Robinson Leigh
    by Charles Badger Clark

    When my rope takes hold on a two-year-old,
    By the foot or the neck or the horn,
    He kin plunge and fight till his eyes go white
    But I'll throw him as sure as you're born.
    Though the taut ropes sing like a banjo string
    And the latigoes creak and strain,
    Yet I got no fear of an outlaw steer
    And I'll tumble him on the plain.

    For a man is a man, but a steer is a beast,
    And the man is the boss of the herd,
    And each of the bunch, from the biggest to least,
    Must come down when he says the word.

    When my leg swings 'cross on an outlaw hawse
    And my spurs clinch into his hide,
    He kin r'ar and pitch over hill and ditch,
    But wherever he goes I'll ride.
    Let 'im spin and flop like a crazy top
    Or flit like a wind-whipped smoke,
    But he'll know the feel of my rowelled heel
    Till he's happy to own he's broke.

    For a man is a man and a hawse is a brute,
    And the hawse may be prince of his clan
    But he'll bow to the bit and the steel-shod boot
    And own that his boss is the man.

    When the devil at rest underneath my vest
    Gets up and begins to paw
    And my hot tongue strains at its bridle reins,
    Then I tackle the real outlaw.
    When I get plumb riled and my sense goes wild
    And my temper is fractious growed,
    If he'll hump his neck just a triflin' speck,
    Then it's dollars to dimes I'm throwed.

    For a man is a man, but he's partly a beast.
    He kin brag till he makes you deaf,
    But the one lone brute, from the west to the east,
    That he kaint quite break is himse'f.

  8. Short Cow Poems for Children

  9. The Cow

    by Ann Taylor

    Thank you, pretty cow, that made
    Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
    Every day, and every night,
    Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.

    Do not chew the hemlock rank,
    Growing on the weedy bank;
    But the yellow cowslips eat,
    They will make it very sweet.

    Where the purple violet grows,
    Where the bubbling water flows,
    Where the grass is fresh and fine,
    Pretty cow, go there and dine.

  10. The Breakfast Song

    by Emilie Poulsson

    At five o'clock he milks the cow,
    The busy farmer's man.
    At six o'clock he strains the milk
    And pours it in the can.

    At seven o'clock the milkman's horse
    Must go to town—"get up!"
    At eight o'clock Nurse Karen pours
    The milk in Baby's cup.

    At five o'clock the Baby sleeps
    As sound as sound can be.
    At six o'clock he laughs and shouts,
    So wide awake is he.

    At seven o'clock he's in his bath,
    At eight o'clock he's dressed
    Just when the milk is ready, too,
    So you can guess the rest.

  11. The Cow

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    The friendly cow all red and white
    I love with all my heart:
    She gives me cream with all her might,
    To eat with apple-tart.

    She wanders lowing here and there,
    And yet she cannot stray,
    All in the pleasant open air,
    The pleasant light of day;

    And blown by all the winds that pass
    And wet with all the showers,
    She walks among the meadow grass
    And eats the meadow flowers.

  12. Milking Time

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    When supper time is almost come,
    But not quite here, I cannot wait,
    And so I take my china mug
    And go down by the milking gate.

    The cow is always eating shucks
    And spilling off the little silk.
    Her purple eyes are big and soft-
    She always smells like milk.

    And Father takes my mug from me,
    And then he makes the stream come out.
    I see it going in my mug
    And foaming all about.

    And when it's piling very high,
    And when some little streams commence
    To run and drip along the sides,
    He hands it to me through the fence.