Derek JG Williams

Jungfrau, With Wild Cows
by Derek JG Williams

The jumpers wake us
after landing, laughing & packing
their parachutes into tight bundles in the sloping field
outside our window. So we turn into light & rise.
From miles above, they fall all day
from the mountain, hurling themselves
through clouds. The inky eyes of the wild cows
watch them plummet, then drift
back down to earth, where we walk & eat & talk
together. Where I hold your hand
after scrambling for hours over the rocks hanging above.
Dear wild cows, set free for summer, never idle,
roaming, this is no mild now.
Even stranded on a steep bluff, beset
on all sides by thick ether, your bell slaps
back & forth, sounding out
a song. Every step, every dip & rise of your soft head,
eating or shitting, sounds out an alarm.
Helicopters carry you down if the way becomes
too steep. You’re never too meek for singing.
Witness from above & watcher down below,
we listen to you in the morning. On a farm across
the dirt lane, you worry the fence posts & rails.
You’re brother & sister to the wildness.
Bearing Wolfs-Bane & Larkspur, Daphne & Dragon’s Head;
wearing Edelweiss & Cyclamen, Jungfrau watches us all.
The cows circle its craggy brow
in weather fair & foul. When our paths cross, I sing
to them because I have a voice: an ode
to their freedom, which is mine too.
But summer ends. I’d have stayed, but the wild cows
have done & gone, back to their farms,
& me on mine. Oh, I long for escape, release
from this unmerciful seat—
the time is cow.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 2.

Derek JG WilliamsDerek JG Williams is an American poet and essayist. He is the author of Poetry Is a Disease, forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press. He is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University. He lives in Germany with his wife. Learn more about him at

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