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When the first cow calves
and the last heifer dies
there’s a painful load of slurry
and you can hear the morning cry
when you’re saving all the silage
and there’s no welts on the neck
the sigh of your father
when you’re passing the herd test
The hardship of all weathers
for pennies you can’t count
the bitter early morning
when there’s not a soul about.
The let down of the paycheck
for the cattle at the mart.
The grind of the machinery
for the strong man and his cart.

About the Author
I am mad into farming and sports like soccer and hurling.
I am a goalkeeper for Callan Utd soccer club and I follow Dunnamaggin GAA and Kilkenny GAA in
I am also a big fan of Leinster rugby and go to a lot of their matches.
Editor's Note
I thought that this was a really surprising and enjoyable poem – because of the subject matter, which is something I very rarely hear about in the poems submitted here, and also because of the way the poet has handled the subject. He has brought a fresh perspective to something so familiar to many of us, and made us look at it differently. Interspersed with really immediate descriptions of the daily routine or slog of the work on the farm are lines like ‘and the last heifer dies’ and ‘the let down of the paycheck’ that remind us to think more about this essential way of life that is so dependent on the health of the planet and the economy, and without which none of us would be able to live. There are definite elements of a modern Kavanagh or Heaney here.