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This poem is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

Animal Passions Robert Saxton
after Virgil, Georgics, Book III, 209-283


The best way to keep a farm animal fit
is to curb its lust - it's the same battle
whether you're breeding horses or cattle.
For example, to train a bull, sequester it

in a lonely place miles from anywhere,
across a river, beyond a mountain ridge;
or make a large pen back home its hermitage.
The sight of the female's dangerous - beware

of the bull who echoes a lover's sigh,
his character turned wispy. Though virile,
he's weak of will - a ton of brainless brawn.

His memories of wood and pasture liquefy
and drain away. The cow with seductive guile
enjoys setting rivals clashing horn to horn.


A lovely heifer grazes in the great wood

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