A Toast to the Cow




Now listen up folks, this here ain’t no joke
Raise your glass to the critter, the cow
What she’ll contribute let no one dispute
I’ll tell you right here and right now
Oh, you know about food, but (not to be rude)
Her worth is much greater and higher
Than margarine spread, ice cream before bed,
And marshmallows cooked ’round a fire

For sausage casings and violin strings
For the shoes that you put on your feet
Sports equipment and soap, (I really hope
you notice I’ve not mentioned meat)
When you wash your clothes, to smell like a rose
The detergent and softener you use
Crayons and candy, plastics so handy
Floor wax, paint and good doggie chews

Rubber tires and ink, and did you think
Asphalt, cement blocks and car polish?
Hydraulic brake fluid, I know that you’d
Be shocked if the cow was abolished
When you’ve a deep cut the Doc stitches shut
From a bovine’s where he gets the thread
Re-routing a road, the explosives they load
And shampoo for when you wash your head

Camera film, too, the cow gives to you
Sandpaper for the carpenter’s trade
The cosmetics you try to beautify
(Not a mention of meat yet I’ve made)
The gum that you chew, and of course, glue
The buttons that do up your clothes
The candles you light on a romantic night
The football that you like to throw

Your fine china plate, piano key – wait
Insulation, felt pads for your rugs
Toothbrushes and paste, there’s damn little waste
There’s a hundred varieties of drugs!
Hay fevered guys would suffer and sigh
Epinephrine is what she gives them
Diabetics, too would be in a stew
If the cow withheld her insulin

There’s rennet, thrombin, as well, heparin
If your blood is a wee bit too thick
And for those in menopausal throes
Estrogen may just do the trick
There are more by which doctors set store
But their names I just can’t pronounce
From cattle derived, some folks are alive
Due to by-products less than an ounce

Now I’ll mention meat, which we love to eat
Roasts and steaks seared so they are rare
Liver, kidney and heart (some like that part)
Sweetbreads, tripe and oysters if you dare
I could include more, but I don’t want to bore
I’ll repeat what I said at the start
In gratitude, now – to the critter, the cow
Thank her from the depths of your heart!

Reprinted from Friends and neighbors,
tried and true… by Phyllis Rathwell, 1995.