The Difference in Knowing and Understanding

Chase Twichell claimed, in a poem
uncovered by Simon and Schuster,
that while riding on a train,
she saw two cows transfixed.

Having grown up on a farm,
the idea left me stunned
and unbelieving. I have seen cows
stand stupidly and chew their cuds.

They flick their tails, stamp their feet,
and twitch their haunches.
They moo, or bawl, and drool.
Sometimes they lie prone in the pasture

as if the velvet grass were a lover,
or a cherished coverlet turned mat.
At times, I have seen them roll
like children, down a hill.

I have seen them line in lowing herds
to wind their way to the barn
for grain and milking.
Markham knew of cattle and the farm.

I might have thought that Chase did not,
her blurred cows recalled nothing I had seen,
but then I read Stirred Up by Rain
She said, and I quote,

“Believing is different than understanding.”

That’s when I walked out in the rain
The sky, a panoramic movie screen, unfolded
two cows or clouds, it was hard to tell.
I believe I stood transfixed.


Excerpt from Chase Twichell’s  Stirred up by Rain

(her poem was inspired by cutting grass in the rain)

One of two things can happen:
either the noisy machine dissolves in the dusk
and the dusk takes refuge in the steady rain,
or the meadow wakes shorn of its flowers.
Believing is different than understanding

The other Twichell poem referenced is ‘blurred cows’


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