Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Fodder-Time - Carmen Sylva

How sweet the manger smells! The cows all listen
  With outstretched necks, and with impatient lowing;
  They greet the clover, their content now showing—
And how they lick their noses till they glisten!

The velvet-coated beauties do not languish
  Beneath the morning’s golden light that’s breaking,
  The unexhausted spring of life awaking,
Their golden eyes of velvet full of anguish.

They patiently endure their pains. Bestowing
  Their sympathy, the other cows are ruing
  Their unproductive udders, and renewing
At milking-time their labour and their lowing.

And now I must deceive the darling bossy,—
  With hand in milk must make it suck my finger.
  Its tender lips cling close like joys that linger,
And feel so warm with dripping white and flossy.

This very hand my people with devotion
  Do kiss,—which paints and plays and writes, moreover,—
  I would it had done naught but pile the clover
To feed the kine that know no base emotion!

From “Songs of Toil

Carmen Sylva (literary name of Pauline Elisabeth Ottilie Luise zu Wied, Queen of Romania (1843–1916) Romania
Translated by John Eliot Bowen
Source: The World’s Best Poetry, ed. by Bliss Carman, et al. Philadelphia: John D. Morris & Co., 1904

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