Slavitt, David R.

United States, (b. 1935)

In Poland, Pigs

  1. Having roughly the body weight of humans,
  2. the pig is a subject for tests of various kinds –
  3. of drugs, for example, but also of man’s (and woman’s)
  4. aspirations. All of us turn our minds
  5.  
  6. to heaven, hope for justice, pray that the swine
  7. who cheated us, who checked us on this earth,
  8. will suffer punishments, undergo such fine
  9. tortures, we cannot imagine them; that our worth
  10.  
  11. will be recognized; that the meek will be blessed, the last
  12. promoted first, and the mighty be brought low.
  13. We wish, we try to believe, and we hold fast
  14. to such old and pleasant texts as promise so.
  15.  
  16. In Poland, pigs – or some of them – are dressed
  17. in burlap suits, while others in the sty
  18. wallow naked. Why should some be blessed,
  19. tricked out in relative finery, and why
  20.  
  21. should others fare less well? The questioning pig
  22. assuming such a creature, would not understand
  23. the obvious truth if he heard it. (One need not dig
  24. for truth as sows do for truffles.) The grand
  25.  
  26. couture is perfectly practical. It protects
  27. the pigs skins, keeps them from getting scarred –
  28. not for this pig’s world, but for the next,
  29. for the curriers’ and the wallet makers’ hard
  30.  
  31. scrutiny, and their customers’, who demand
  32. quality goods. The pigs know nothing of this
  33. and do not pray. They do not understand
  34. peace or justice, or try to imagine bliss.

© David R. Slavitt. Rounding the Horn, Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

About the Poet

David R. Slavitt, United States, (b. 1935) is a poet, novelist, critic, essayist, editor, journalist and translator who has published more than seventy works of fiction, poetry, and drama in translation.

Slavitt has taught at Temple University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Princeton University, and Bennington College. His verse confronts largest human experiences of love, joy, grief, loss, and death.

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.