Here is a recap of this month’s poems so far. As a reminder, they are all found poems based on the early 20th century diaries of my great aunt Hattie:

Today’s poem is based on Hattie’s April 1957 entries, from the last year of her diaries and the middle of a snowy spring calving season. Note for line 16 that “cast wethers” was once a common term for a prolapsed uterus.

April 1957: Frankie

Storm is forecast
Snow and wind
In east barn-lot
Calves play among cows
As if it was fun
Frankie and Clarence
Spend all their time
Pulling and fussing
One born outside
Just before dark
Clarence and boys
Got it in barn
Pulled one dead
Made men sick
But cow is alive
One had wethers out
Clarence and Frankie
Sewed back in
Twins born this night
Cow on the fight so
Left one calf with mother
Brought one to barn
Drinks milk from bottle
A cow with dead calf
Must have had twins as
Came back with a calf but
Bawls for dead one
Frankie gets meals
Hangs washing
Brings milk and chicken feed
Helps with calving
She needs a new pair
Of leather gloves.

Mother and child reunion

“Mother and child reunion,” by Rachel Kramer (CC BY 2.0)

April 10, 1957