Blunden, Edmund

British, (1896-1974)

The Poor Man’s Pig

  1. Already fallen plum-bloom stars the green
  2. And apple-boughs as knarred as old toads’ backs
  3. Wear their small roses ere a rose is seen;
  4. The building thrush watches old Job who stacks
  5. The bright-peeled osiers* on the sunny fence,
  6. The pent sow grunts to hear him stumping by,
  7. And tries to push the bolt and scamper thence,
  8. But her ringed snout still keeps her to the sty.
  9.  
  10. Then out he lets her run; away she snorts
  11. In bundling gallop for the cottage door,
  12. With hungry hubbub begging crusts and orts**,
  13. Then like a whirlwind bumping round once more;
  14. Nuzzling the dog, making the pullets run,
  15. And sulky as a child when her play’s done.
© estate of Edmund Blunden
The Shepherd & Other Poems of Peace & War. New York: Knopf, 1922.

Editor’s Note:

* osiers – long rodlike twigs of any of various willows that are tough and flexible and used for wickerwork and basketry.

** orts – small scraps or leavings of food after a meal is completed.

About the Poet

Edmund Blunden, (1896-1974), English poet, a literary journalist, and a Professor of English Literature. He was commissioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1915 and served in France and Belgium from 1916 to 1919 and was awarded the Military Cross.

Besides writing poetry, Blunden earned his living as a literary journalist, a Professor of English Literature at Tokyo University, a fellow and tutor of English at Merton College, Oxford, a writer for the Times Literary Supplement and as a Professor of Poetry at Oxford.

Blunden wrote poetry primarily about World War I and about the English countryside. He also spent a great deal of time in editing and writing biography and criticism. He edited volumes of contemporary poetry and published studies of minor and major writers of the late-seventeenth to mid-nineteenth centuries.

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