United States, (1957-2014)
- There’s adventure in home-life,
- though none of them saw it. They were hungry
- for oceans, the stretched sky, a taut sail.
- Their one trick was map-work, they prayed
- to pale gods, and tracked stars.
- Yet such spaces oppressed them, they missed
- clean clothes, and forks. At home
- they’d had beds changed, the sheets tightened,
- uncreased. They complained of long hours,
- saw the sea become sluttish, slack-edged.
- So they’ve come here to me, wanting
- mindlessness, limits. They will look
- to no stars, sleep at times I enforce.
- Drink’s strictly forbidden – they lick salt
- from my hand.
- I saw usual cravings, and blessed them with snouts.
Running a Pig
- He ran through threshed fields
- as though it were fun. Our legs
- were both short, his squeals
- meant enjoyment, I thought.
- Yet a pig – every part – can be eaten:
- the tongue, the feet, the sweet curling
- tail. I was thoroughly spanked:
- “That Pig cost a lot more than you.”
- But it wasn’t my fault –
- I knew nothing of pigs. I visited only
- for two weeks each summer,
- and I always brought books – there often
- seemed little to do. My smocked dresses
- were useless, a city child’s
- frills. I was soon plump from food
- meant for bodies that sweated,
- and grew things. Still I learned
- they kept all the young separate.
- Sows can develop a taste
- for man’s flesh, are born with an urge
- for their own. “Child, you fall once
- and that pig will run
- toward you, bite your pretty pink skin
- to the bone.”
About the Poet
Diann Blakely (1957-2014), (also Diann Blakely Shoaf) was a U.S. poet, essayist, editor and reviewer. Blakely attended the University of the South before taking her M.A. at Vanderbilt. She also studied writing at Harvard, Boston University and Vermont College.
Blakely was a poetry editor of Antioch Review, a Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and a member of the tutorial staff at Harvard. She also taught at both the High School and the College level and was the Poet-in-Residence at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee. In both 1994 and 1995 Blakely was awarded the Pushcart Prize. [DES-01/12]
A while, back, Diann Blakely kindly called my attention to the pig poetry of Matthews, William. Blakely was a student of Matthews, and he remained her mentor as her writing career began.