Hymn to Boeuf

O glorious animal that God has set for us,
we honor you by taking your life
and making it our own, your flesh our flesh.
This is as it has been and how it shall be.

We sear your flesh, drive the evil out,
so that our nourishment is pure, only love,
just as your milk nurtures our children.
This is as it has been and how it shall be.

O divine cholesterol, we take you in,
as God has prescribed, for we have dominion
over the animals of sea, air and earth.
This is as it has been and how it shall be.

The protein builds our muscles so we
may worship and praise God. Our arteries
clog so that we may die and go to heaven.
This is as it has been and how it shall be.

We thank you for this divine gift,
life, which we take with swift mercy,
so that we may live with compassion.
This is as it has been and how it shall be.


* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the Day 15! prompt at NaPoWriMo:

write a poem… in the form of a hymn to something that is bad or that you dislike.

Full disclosure: I am vegan. I do not eat animal flesh or anything that comes from animals, like dairy products. So, I am not being a hypocrite here. In fact, what I’m complaining about, the thing that I dislike, is the hypocrisy of people who claim to be compassionate but who do not extend that compassion to animals. I will apologize in advance if you find my “hymn” offensive, but I’ve had people quote the Bible at me to justify their actions.

9 thoughts on “Hymn to Boeuf

  1. Mr. Walker, you definitely make a strong case for being Vegan. It is hard to think about poor animals being put to slaughter so we can have McDonald’s hamburgers!


  2. Bravo for setting it out so clearly. Would that I’d known all that long ago and saved the clogging of my Jock’s arteries. Not that we eat that much beef – can’t afford it.


  3. Sir, this is a good poem. It’s true, I am not vegan. Was vegetarian for awhile, but my iron levels suffered no matter how many iron-rich veggies I took in. And it will give me lots to think about. Is it time to make that commitment? We eat chicken, but only free-range, organic… “our chickens have one bad day…” and fresh-caught fish, but I do feel like a hypocrite because, no matter what, we are supposed to be taking care of them, and everything from our diets to Big Agra to other industry (oil) is killing them.

    Ironic post, and I loved it. Thanks again for a good lesson. Amy


  4. I like your poem despite being an unrepentant carnivore. You make a good case. I have no problem with eating meat but I believe we should treat the animals humanely.

    I’ll refrain from using the Genesis argument that animals are here for our use if you refrain from asking me how humane I think it is to kill them.

    A good poem.


  5. Stan, thank you. As you might know, over here in the states we call it S.A.D. – for Standard American Diet.

    Mary, thank you. Yes, don’t even get me started on big corporations like McDonald’s.

    Viv, thank you. The damage we do to our bodies is sad. My boys are growing up without grandfathers. My wife and I both lost our fathers in the same year four years ago. And poor diet played a part in their early deaths.

    Amy, thank you for your comments. It’s so hard nowadays, because we have so industrialized husbandry – and people are so removed from their actual food sources. While it’s easy to point out hypocrisy, it’s quite another thing to change it – and like so many things, the forces against change are strong. People of good conscience struggle with it; you’re clearly one of those people.

    Tilly, thank you. I agree, we should treat animals humanely. And I accept your bargain; I won’t ask you how humane it is to kill animals.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your comments. I hope you liked the poem; I’m going to assume that it spoke to you on some level if you responded to the content and not the form. Thanks to those of you who thought I made a good case. But, most of all, thank you for being the compassionate, open-minded people that I think you are. You treated my poem and the thoughts within it with respect; I appreciate that. You make writing and sharing my poetry such a worthwhile endeavor – and for that I am grateful.


  6. You’ve nailed this– about ten years ago I gave up red meat and don’t miss it. Unfortunately fast food restaurants and their less costly meals attract many people. Obesity is endemic in poor neighborhoods.


  7. Elizabeth, thank you so much. I’m gratified to hear my eloquence and commitment shines through.

    Linda, thank you for your kind words. I agree, many people in poor neighborhoods do not have access to healthy foods. What is inexpensive and readily available is generally not healthy.


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