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Oil Painting - by Maureen Wilkinson

Bringing The Night Cow Down

Medium (16" x 20") = £50.00

Oil Painting - by Maureen Wilkinson

In 1981 Maureen and I gave up our careers in education and bought a small farm in Cornwall, UK, to try our hands at self-sufficiency.  Virtually overnight we became farmers...growing fruit and vegetable, rearing pigs, sheep, cattle and poultry, and hand-milking two Jersey house cows. Regular farmers milk their cows in the early morning and late afternoon, but ours were often milked mid morning and sometimes as late as midnight.  We took it in turns to bring the night cows down for milking.  This oil painting was completed around 2010/10 while the associated poem was written 24 years earlier in 1986/87.

The poem 'Bringing the Night Cow Down' won 1st Prize in the 1987 Peterloo International Open Poetry Competition. It has been published in the Guardian and various poetry journals, and is included in Maureens collection 'THE BLINDMAN GOES FROM A TO B' published by Peterloo Poets (currently out of print).



Beyond the door a sea of plunging dark,
a blinding overlay of turbulence,
a star-struck forest-crush of broken airs, a
leafy-lashing fingering of wet
which I now measure, fathom, piece and part
to milk the cow,
to bring the night cow down.

That swell of bovine yellow, sodden dark, too
silage sweet, too bruised with sweeping night
to find in fields. So come
my wallow one,
my grazing manatee, fill out your hide
with wind, with leather wings,
the moon has drowned, the sun's extinguished, all
the daisy stars
have floated off much higher than our sight
and undulate in phosphorescent tides. Come lumbering plush
below the milky way
though winds lock milk-wet fingers in our path
answer my cry
and bring the night cow down.

What lack of rhyme or reason guides this task, repeated nightly?
Brightly from the hill
My house stands firmly anchored;
tele's on,
electric light has tamed the sucked up air,
the books have formed a regiment of words,
the walls are vertical, the carpet's square,
the roof's a sanity of tessellation.

The needling rain tattoos my docile flesh and spreads in coloured cold,
like peacock's eyes.
No longer seeing, I reach in the dark
a denser shadowing, a brew of grass, a swaying cauldron-hide,
and the opacity of her black breath.

steaming bulk. We're turning to the light. I hear your sway 
descend the clumping path, the flattened lumping rushes of the hill.
Come coloured cow, the Chagall of my heart
and manifest your density of light.
Come, let me milk the whiteness of the dark.

 Maureen Wilkinson

NOTE:  There are also two hand-signed limited edition artist's proofs of this print available, both medium size.  They are signed in pencil Maureen Wilkinson, titled Bringing the Nightcow Down, and numbered 1/100 and 2/100 respectively.  The price for each is £225 including shipping, with the 1/100 going to the first buyer.  To buy this beautiful and rare signed print please use the donate button or bank transfer details HERE and notify me with delivery information via the contact page.  100% of the money will go to Maureen's Golden Angel Emergency Shelter.

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