Among Robert Graves’s best and most famous poems, “Dead Cow Farm” is in essence a war poem (Robert Graves served in WWI and saw heavy fighting) wherein his gentle cow symbolizes peace and calm.
It is, I think, a strange and lovely little poem.
Dead Cow Farm
An ancient saga tells us how
In the beginning the First Cow
(For nothing living yet had birth
But Elemental Cow on earth)
Began to lick cold stones and mud:
Under her warm tongue flesh and blood
Blossomed, a miracle to believe:
And so was Adam born, and Eve.
Here now is chaos once again,
Primeval mud, cold stones and rain.
Here flesh decays and blood drips red,
And the Cow’s dead, the old Cow’s dead.