My Amber

My Amber

Imprinting your shape,
and texture
into the palm of my heart;
knobby horns,
forehead whirl,
and floppy dewlap.

Hands smooth across
sleek red hide,
eyes clouded by tears.

I inhale.

Hold time.

Breathe in the scent of you.

Each pat

   a memory,
   a caress,
   a pause;

‘I love you.’

‘My beautiful girl.’

'I love you.'

© Kathryn Apel December 2019

She was older than my boys – and lived in our home paddock almost as long as I have. She was my second bottle-reared calf (arriving two months after Cocoa), and for 23 years she has been just a roving glance away – a frequent visitor at the house for sweetest treats. She was our gentle giant; for many years, the fattest cow on the property, and the one cow I have never feared. Loved by many, she would happily exchange hay for pats – from family, friends and strangers.

And now, we’re shedding tears. And clinging to the memories … and a thousand photos of our beautiful Amber.

10 years of reading with Amber. Always her favourite book.

Teary hugs to my grazier husband who has shared the care of our Amber-girl, most especially in recent drought months during my extended author visits – where kids the world over have loved to hear about Amber the cow.

My beautiful Amber-girl. xx

Edit: Thank-you to my online friend Rachel, who I first met when she ordered a signed copy of ‘This is the Mud!’ because it was her daughter’s favourite book, and she’d worn it out! Rachel sent me this verse in response to my Instagram post – and I can tell she has read ‘This is the Mud’ many times. (Including tonight, in honour of Amber – when her girls wanted to know why she was crying, since it’s not a sad story! “See… she’s chewing her cud so that means she’s happy.”)

This is the author who smiles through her tears,
at the wonderful memories from 23 years,
of a happy old “Moo”, chewing her cud,
knowing how much she was ever so loved. ❤️

I cried buckets – and smiled some, too. Rachel, your poem will always be special! Thank-you! xx


    • Ah yes. She has been my biggest worry, with all my recent travels. So thankful for hubby and his care of her. (Sons too, when they visited.) You have your own little bit of Amber, in her muddy book.♥️


  1. I saw your tweet this morning…I am sorry. I cannot imagine twenty-three years to let go of. What a beautiful tribute poem. Yes, those pats and rubs. Our pets hear so much of what humans in our lives cannot. Amber was a good, good friend. Hugs to you…and your hubby or taking care of such a special girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like there is a missing piece in my heart, my life and my landscape. I know my eyes will be seeking Amber out for many years to come. (It’s been five years since our tears for Cocoa, and still my eyes play tricks when we have another black cow in the paddock – though mostly it brings the warmth of memory and affection.) I loved my girls.💕


  2. Kat, when I started reading your post, I thought you were speaking about your beautiful cow from This is the Mud! book that you signed for my granddaughter. Even at 2 1/2 years old, she has bedtime favorites and your book captured her heart. I am so sorry that your dear friend has passed on. Your poem is a tribute to her and I think I will copy it and place it in Sierra’s book so she can read it herself when she is older. I did tell her that the cow in the book was your pet. May Amber live on in your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Carol. Your comment made me cry all over again. Yes. My dear Amber – from Sierra’s book. Aches! I will in time move the poem to Amber’s page. And update that. Little bits at a time.😪 Some things are too hard at the moment. But I am so glad Sierra is enjoying her story. Thank-you. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your poem captures your love and closeness to dear Amber–and the pain of losing a beloved friend. How wonderful that Amber lives on in the hearts and imaginations of so many. Wishing you strength and courage and a happy new year.


  4. Kat, I am so so sorry for your loss. May all those precious memories comfort you and your family. I can tell by your words and photos how incredibly loved Amber was and how her presence blessed all of you. Hugs from afar.


  5. Pingback: Poetry Friday Round-up, 24th January 2020 « Kathryn Apel

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