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Bovine Sue

by Lionel E. Deimel


Adieu, adieu, sweet Bovine Sue;

It’s hard to say goodbye to you,

For you’re too young to pass away,

To leave your friends, both straight and gay.


We’ll miss your passion and your wit,

Your will to fight, to never quit,

Your love for those on all the sides

That stake the bounds of our divides.


With buttons on your blouse and purse

You’d skewer the humbug with a terse

Remark or question to his face

And consternation raise apace.


You stood for justice, stood for life,

Eschewed cheap comfort, choosing strife

To make our world a better place,

Where all could see God’s gifts of grace.


We thought it odd that you’d somehow

Identify with calf or cow

That gave the valves to fix your heart,

To five more years of life impart.


But that was just your gratitude,

Your faithful Christian attitude

That you displayed without regard

To creatures both of house and yard.


And when the valves stopped working well,

You, thoughtless of life’s final knell,

Endured the knife with quiet hope

That heart and body still could cope.


Alas, a fix was not to be,

And God would set your spirit free

To join the angels high above,

Depriving us of “Bovine” love.



Angel with trumpet


My friend Sue Boulden, an indefatigable crusader for human rights and a founder of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, died on March 27, 2007, after open-heart surgery. Her obituary in the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives a fine account of her life.

Sue had received bovine heart valves five years ago to replace her heart’s own failing valves, and she proclaimed her debt to the bovine species through various cow knickknacks about her house and through the use of the e-mail address bovinesue@aol.com. She recently entered the hospital to replace the bovine valves with artificial ones because they, too, were failing. The operation was not a success.

This poem began with the line “Adieu, adieu to Bovine Sue,” which I thought of one day and expanded the next.

— LED, 3/30/2007, corrected 8/3/2013

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