Lape, Fred

United States, (1900-1985)

The Laughing Faces of Pigs

  1. Eight young pigs in a row look at me from the trough,
  2. eight laughing faces waiting for their food.
  3. Am I so funny seen from a pig’s eyes?
  4. No, they’d look the same at any stick or beam.
  5. Nothing can make a pig look sad; his face
  6. is built wrong for it; his mouth curls up;
  7. his eyes are formed into a grin; his nose
  8. wrinkles with laughter at every move he makes.
  9.  
  10. Is it so many centuries of good nature,
  11. no inhibitions, no worry of neighbor opinion,
  12. that leaves its stamp upon the faces of his race?
  13. Or does it go back further?
  14. I sometimes think
  15. the soil’s good humor runs inside his veins.
  16. Maybe the earth herself had a good belly laugh
  17. the era that she first gave birth to pigs.

© estate of Fred Lape
Barnyard Year. New York: Harper, 1950.

About the Poet

Fred Lape (1900-1985), was a poet, teacher, farmer, and writer. He published extensively in US newspapers and magazines and wrote several books and volumes of poetry.

Lape was raised in Esperance, New York, near the 97-acre farm which became the Landis Arboretum. He was educated at Cornell and taught at Stanford and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. [DES-6/03]

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