Grace To Be Said at the Supermarket

A poetry book misfiled under "Drama" at the used-book sale: The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov, published 1967. I pick it up to move it to the right shelf, open it at random, and my eyes land upon "Grace To Be Said at the Supermarket":

This God of ours, the Great Geometer,
Does something for us here, where He hath put
(if you want to put it that way) things in shape,
Compressing the little lambs into orderly cubes,
Making the roast a decent cylinder,
Fairing the tin ellipsoid of a ham,
Getting the luncheon meat anonymous
In squares and oblongs ...

... from which Nemerov continues to muse about how meats, as sold and bought, are so conceptually divorced from their origins, the animals that "Enter the pure Euclidean kingdom of number, / Free of their bulging and blood-swollen lives ..." so "... That we may look unflinchingly on death ..." — a stark, startling, cogent observation. Vegetarianism, anyone?

(cf. SufferTheAnimals (2000-06-11), RobertNozick (2002-02-02), CompassionateCarnivorism (2002-11-19), Franklin on Vegetarianism (2008-06-17), Omnivore's Dilemma (2009-05-16), No Simple Answers (2009-12-01), Philosophical Vegetarian Issues (2010-07-15), Milligan on Vegetarianism (2012-11-02), ...) - ^z - 2013-01-08