Carol Harte

Orkney Cattle

The cattle spread like butter across the isles;
Ears were tickled by the malevolent intention,
Eyes were prickled with almost-tears.

The just-become woman lay unfeeling as blood droplets
Her virginity silently cried as the man withdrew.
This once-girl knew not the nine-month
She simply covered herself with left over modesty
Then walked, a natural action which she knew.

Time passed. Belly grew.

The girl-woman was blamed:
Her rose petalled face was too tempting, too indecently

A shawl was given to wrap up her new-born sin.

The cattle stirred, suspecting, anticipating.
They knew how these things ended.

The woman-girl was outcast and her village – universe
grew walls.
What choice did she have?

The cattle knew, had always known, how her story would
end near
neolithic domesticity.
Skara Brae’s water source called.

Infant-sin and child-woman found the welcoming well,
Found it had endless caresses to give within its narrow
circular walls.

And when the well embraced them both
A familiar sound hurled itself across the isles.

The cattle were crying.

Carol Harte has been writing poetry for two years, inspired by her involvement in her local literature festival, Weaver Words, and the creative writing colleagues in her local writing group. She taught English at a 6 th form college and in secondary schools for over thirty years
but has recently retired. She has had poems published in The Dawntreader and Marble poetry magazine, for whom she did a reading in Cardiff, along with other poets. Carol writes about the world around her, both real and imaginary. Folktales and myths are a rich source of ideas which she enjoys mining.