Irish Cow Circle by Maureen Grady

cows circle

Irish Cow Circle
by Maureen Grady

I sat in a field of damp grass,
in the very center
of a Neolithic stone circle,
imagining a piece of theatre
I’d love to direct there

when eight cows approached
from the far edges of the field,
came right up to me,
until their big brown heads
encircled me,
crowded above me.

And one by one,
each lay down in the softness,
their soulful eyes
asking something of me.

I breathed in
the heat of their bodies,
the clouds of warm breath,
the sweet smell of grass,
munched in perfect rhythm.

And then,
a pure peace pervaded,
one that came from
ancient animal wisdom,
and field, stone circle, and sky.

PHOTO: Cows in field with ancient stone circle, Ireland. Photo by MookManMcMook, © All rights reserved. 

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NOTE:stone circle is a circular alignment of standing stones. They are commonly found across Northern Europe, Great Britain, and Ireland, and typically date from theLate Neolithic and Early Bronze Age eras, with most concentrations appearing from 3000 BCE.  Many theories have been advanced to explain their use, usually related to providing a setting for ceremony or ritual, but there is no consensus among archaeologists as to their intended function. Their construction often involved considerable communal effort, including specialist tasks such as planning, quarrying, transportation, laying the foundation trenches, and final construction.There are approximately 1,300 stone circles in Britain and Ireland.  Although stone circles are widely distributed across the island, Ireland has two main concentrations: in the Cork/Kerry area and in mid-Ulster. 

PHOTO: Stone circle, County Down, Ireland. Photo by Klaus Hausmann, used by permission. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maureen Grady is author of two books of poetry: Unpack My Heart With Words (2015), and Land of Dream and Dreamer, Poems of Ireland (2019).  Maureen is a writer, teacher, actor, producer, and private writing coach. She has taught British and Irish Literature, Shakespeare, and Creative Writing for many years. Her private creative writing conservatory has nurtured many young women writers. Maureen was fortunate to have John L’Heureux as a mentor at Stanford, and studied with Seamus Heaney  and Eavan Boland.  She has won two teaching prizes: the student-nominated “One of LA’s Most Inspiring Teachers,” and a national recognition for teaching Creative Writing from Scholastic Books given at Carnegie Hall by Tony Kushner. Maureen is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in Literature, minor in History/Art History. She also has a Masters in Theatre. Maureen is an Irish citizen and divides her time between Ireland and America.

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