An Innocent Prisoner

Eve McGann (age 13), Holy Child School, Killiney, Co Dublin

Eve McGann

I thought, that when he wielded his weathered stick,

And called to us in his rough, worn voice,

It was an indication of food in the barrel,

The constantly empty tray replenished,

But it was not for that reason he herded us out,

Out of our muddy, hoof-imprinted home,

It was not for that reason he whistled for the dog,

Biting eagerly at our ankles for a hoof out of line,


We sauntered down the country road,

Stealing chomps out of the newly discovered bushes,

A richer sustenance than the uprooted grass,

The only vegetation we knew,


It was not for that reason he slapped our rears and checked the tags on our ears,

It was not for that reason he counted us greedily,

Weighing the fat with vigour,


He herded us into a two-heightened van,

And we stuck our heads out the bars,

Like terrified, wide-eyed prisoners,

Yet we knew not our crime,

Nor the punishment,

When once, our newly discovered world, just this morning,

Seemed rich and teeming with endless things to explore,


We wished for the quiet life of a munching, bored cow,

Though what thoughts we had,

Made no more an imprint,

Than our hooves had on the country-side gravel lane.