Journal 4: How Many Ways Can Cows Eat Grass?

The cows

stand under the trees in the wet grass,

lifting their necks to

pull leaves down.  We

slow the truck,

pull over to the side of the road to

watch them.  How graceful they

look, how unlike themselves.  We

get out and

lean on the fence.  The cows don’t seem to

notice we are there.

Breaking the lines before the verb helps build the anticipation for the reader of what action is going to be taken.  This is not very necessary, in my opinion, for this poem because there is no real excitement in the poem so there is not a real reason to build anticipation.  Using this method does create a nice flow for the poem by making most of the lines enjambed.  Perhaps the flow is a bit too quick for this poem of cows just eating grass.

 

The cows stand under the trees in the wet grass,

lifting their necks to pull leaves down.  

We slow the truck,

pull over to the side of the road to watch them.  

How graceful they look,

how unlike themselves.  

We get out and lean on the fence.  

The cows don’t seem to notice we are there.

In this form, I used the punctuation throughout the prose to break the lines.  This slows the poem down, making the reader stop at the end of each line.  This creates much longer lines that work much better for the content of the poem; it reminds me of how mechanical it seems to watch a cow eat grass.  It slows down the rhythm into a pace that relates well with the content.

 

The cows stand

under the trees in the wet grass, lifting

their necks to pull

leaves down.  We slow

the truck, pull

over to the side of the road to watch

them.  How graceful they look,

how unlike themselves.  We get

out and lean

on the fence.  The cows don’t seem to notice

we are there.

Breaking the lines after the verb does much of the same effect as breaking before the verbs as I did in the first instance.  The anticipation is still there, but rather than the reader being curious of what the noun is doing, they will be curious of what the verb will be modifying.  Out of all the instances I have provided, I believe this one is the worst; the line lengths are inconsistent (some short, some long) and because of that, the rhythm is not concise.  If this were a more erratic poem, then I would say the inconsistency enhances the poem, but in this case, I feel it just debilitates it.