"When asked to comment on the poem, I initially doubted my ability to disentangle any individual strands – the Love Cow had emerged whole from the marsh of my (weird) subconscious. But, as with dreams, when certain elements can be traced back to a half-registered image from the previous day, some fleeting or abiding older memory, or midnight cheese (or beef), I realise that I’m able to pinpoint the provenance of quite a few lines." Read the rest of Geraldine's 'Behind the Poem' feature. This poem appears in the 2015 summer issue of The Poetry Review.

Love Cow

by Geraldine Clarkson

Oh cow of love you have me pinned
to your evergreen felt

and are in at my ear with fermenting
oaths and actual importuning

and imprecations. I rebut you
with a tough raft of arguments, derived

from magazines under the sofa
at my Aunt Libbie’s house

I have a disease, your rump is small,
your rich cream disgusts me

and others which are more
sophisticated, from the Bible and books of

philosophy. You give me a soft brown
stare. How I wobble now before you, cow

of love, humongous, like a free-range
sack of boulders swaying

delightfully, your cordial spine
rippling, your celtic skeleton

offering promise. To eat you
would be divine, surely,

your emerald milk fast-forwarding
to your stomachs, pressed over and over

by clenching muscles. Why is it you cows get
such bad press? I wonder, half-beguiled.

Sometimes I see you, fenced,
defending young (‘let go of your dog

if cows surround you’, the notice
on the farm-gate says)    

or at the abattoir, steaming hot
and hung prosaically on hooks.                                           

Or on the plate with no relief
except for some mocking green

salad – staked out, defenceless.
They say your flesh can stay

unsullied in the gut
for six months or more –

bowels fill with longing
for sloping fields, a faraway sea.

BBC Proms teamed up with The Poetry Society to programme Proms Extra Lates, a series of exciting late-night performances in the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall. The relaxed cabaret-format events showcase young talents from the worlds of poetry and music. This year’s featured poets are Sarah Howe, Jon Stone, Megan Beech, William Letford, Inua Ellams, Liz Berry, Jack Underwood and Holly Hopkins. Presenter Georgia Mann comperes. All events are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Inua Ellams and Liz Berry
Inua Ellams and Liz Berry – both performing at the Proms Extra Lates soon.

Proms Extra Lates at the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room are free events, but tickets must be booked in advance unless you have attended that evening’s Prom (visit royalalberthall.co.uk or call 0845 401 5040).

  • Thursday 23 July
    Sarah Howe performs poems alongside Modal Point
  • Thursday 30 July
    Jon Stone performs poems alongside The John Garner Quartet
  • Thursday 6 August
    Megan Beech performs poems alongside Vula Viel
  • Thursday 13 August
    William Letford performs poems alongside Bahla
  • Thursday 20 August, 10.45-11.45pm
    Inua Ellams performs poems alongside the Mark Pringle Trio
  • Thursday 27 August, 9.45-10.45pm
    Liz Berry performs poems alongside Project Jam Sandwich
  • Friday 4 September, 10-11pm
    Jack Underwood performs poems alongside Follow the Rats
  • Wednesday 9 September, 10.15-11.15pm
    Holly Hopkins  performs poems alongside Flea Circus
19 August 2015

Tweets @PoetrySociety

Treat yourself to some fun on Wed 2 Sept in Little Venice with Jo Bell & groovy folk band @deadratorchestra ow.ly/RsEZI

Come and hear fab @CanalPoetry from @Jo_Bell at @CanalCafe Theatre next Wed. Watery songs and poems galore: ow.ly/RsEZI

Blakes Cottage Fundraising event in London, 19 Sep. Feat. Daljt Nagra, Deborah Levy, George Szirtes & more! Book now: ow.ly/RogmW

Explore The Creative Unconscious at our all-day Psychoanalytic Poetry Festival @FreudMusLondon, 19 Sep:... fb.me/3HlgrCrQM

"Through all the white noise, this is the collective language whispering to you. Write from that whisper..." Free... fb.me/48aWqzeBq

Free Verse Poetry Book Fair Competition! Write a short 10-line poem on the theme of 'Books' and be in with a... fb.me/8aZq0VQ8T

The Poetry and Comics exhibition launches next week in the Poetry Cafe, too! Glad to see John will be fully... fb.me/4zjHS2xeE

Great news! @HannahSilvaUK running Poetry Surgeries for The Poetry Society, Birmingham, October. Feedback on yr poems fb.me/7Yg231pXM

TWO slots left on 1-1 workshop with Colette Bryce, Newcastle, Sat 19 Sep - 12.45pm and 2pm fb.me/3s2dXVmgf

Thom Gunn and his philosophical poetry fb.me/2nam8PYOj