“With what kind of voice shall we interrogate God? In Cattle of the Lord, it is anxious, sardonic, sensuous—but never despairing. In these incisive and vulnerable poems, the problem of the eternal divine is filtered through the modern world, in all its alienation and chaos. We’re shown again and again how faith is inextricable from doubt, how eros is inextricable from death….” –Nicky Beer
I’ve been haunted for days by the stunning poems in Cattle of the Lord, written by the Portuguese author Rosa Alice Branco and translated by Alexis Levitin.
“Laughter in the Grass”
Slowly we breathe in,
and the air plays throughout our bodies
in no rush to join the air
outside. They teach us
to ruminate the void and that is why we enter
one another, we who were never matter,
and at this scale the speed of light
is irrelevant to the infinite.
Our ears are filled with the cries
of nails piercing the silence
of your hands. If you don’t save yourself
from your own death, even though you are
also god, if you die in our name
and go on dying of us, all we can do
is celebrate this life. Come, my love, your laughter
presses down the grass and your weight
pierces my body: eternal sufferer
on the ground of such a joy.