Stranger Fruit

Friday Poem (0314)


A Cow Mourning For Her Calf

Oft at some consecrated altar-side,
Where fragrant incense burns, a calf lies slain,
And from his breast breathes out the warm life-tide:
But the lone mother, o’er the grassy land
Far ranging, sees his cloven hoof-prints plain,
And leaves with roving eyes no spot unscanned
For her lost young, and fills with lowings wild
The shady wood; then tireless turns again
To the bare stall, sore stricken for her child.
Naught can the dewy grass, or tender leaf,
Or brimming river-bank, once fondly known,
Avail to bannish that o’er-mastering grief;
Nor by the sight of other calves, upgrown
In the fair fields, is her sad heart beguiled:
So deeply yearns she for her one, her own.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, II, 352-366


  1. #1 Christophe Thill
    March 14, 2008

    Anthropomorphism at its finest !

  2. #2 Luna_the_cat
    March 14, 2008

    Cristophe Thill: If that’s as deeply as you look into it, then you are missing the point of the poem entirely.

    Anyway, as a side note, even many scientists now hold the view that animals can grieve. The view of animals as automatons is long past.

  3. #3 Fastlane
    March 17, 2008

    I’m sure many animals can grieve, but I see that picture, and I think….MMmmm…veal. =)


  4. #4 Luna_the_cat
    March 18, 2008

    I’ve never seen the appeal of veal. Aside from the cruelty aspect of it, I have never seen the point of tasteless meat. (Don’t give me the “delicate flavor” crap, it’s tasteless. I love the delicate flavours of things like sushi, but veal just tastes like, well…bland.)

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