by Gillian Clarke
The Friesian bull, like the male of most breeds of dairy cattle, is a dangerous animal, and must be kept confined in a strong pen. The bull was on my uncle’s farm on the banks of the River Dee in North Wales. The bull could always be heard crashing about in his stall, knocking the steel bars, kicking and bellowing. The heifer (young female) could only be brought to him for fertilisation by confining her in a narrow passage, too narrow for the bull, and then raising the iron gate between the bull and the heifer. It seemed to me a sad and savage procedure. Yet he had been a calf once, in a field under the sky. His ancestors roamed freely in herds. Do the scents on the wind remind him of these things?