Tuesday, October 23, 2012


An Ox Looks at Man
by Carlos Drummond de Andrade

They are more delicate even than shrubs and they run and
run from one side to the other, always forgetting
something. Surely they lack I don't know what basic
ingredient, though they present themselves as noble or
serious, at times. Oh, terribly serious, even tragic.
Poor things, one would say that they hear neither the
song of air nor the secrets of hay; likewise they seem
not to see what is visible and common to each of us, in
space. And they are sad, and in the wake of sadness
they come to cruelty. All their expression lives in
their eyes — and loses itself to a simple lowering of
lids, to a shadow. And since there is little of the
mountain about them — nothing in the hair or in the
terribly fragile limbs but coldness and secrecy — it is
impossible for them to settle themselves into forms that
are calm, lasting, and necessary. They have, perhaps, a
kind of melancholy grace (one minute) and with this they
allow themselves to forget the problems and translucent
inner emptiness that make them so poor and so lacking
when it comes to uttering silly and painful sounds:
desire, love, jealousy (what do we know?) — sounds that
scatter and fall in the field like troubled stones and
burn the herbs and the water, and after this it is hard
to keep chewing away at our truth.


from ~
We Animals
poems of our world
edited by Nanya Aisenberg
(Sierra Club Books)