Cotton, John

British, (1925-2003)

Pigs
(four ways of looking at)

  1. To Westacre Belle and Prestatyn Lucy
  2.  
  3. Scrubbed pink
  4. They look the most naked of animals,
  5. Except for the coarse hair,
  6. Almost colorless and seen close to.
  7. With ears like awnings over their small eyes,
  8. They root with their blunt and specially
  9. Gristled noses, their legs almost
  10. Ridiculously delicate
  11. For all that warmth and fertility.
  12. Twelve or thirteen a time, is it?
  13. She grunts to let them know they can feed.
  14. Few are allowed to reach full size:
  15. Boiled down they make excellent lard.
  16. The delicate coloring
  17. And firmness of line
  18. Remind one
  19. Of a water color by Dürer.
  20. As St. John and Socrates
  21. Were at pains to point out:
  22. Nature is always
  23. Imitating art.
  24.  
  25. Domesticated since neolithic times
  26. They are still indifferent to man.
  27. Clumsy, sometimes bad tempered,
  28. They can crack a leg by rolling on it
  29. Or smother a litter. And those jaws,
  30. Like clapper boards, that open as if
  31. The face was falling apart,
  32. Can make short work of a piglet
  33. Or an arm.
  34. In Chinese ideography,
  35. A roof with a pig under it
  36. Means home.

© John Cotton
Old Movies and Other Poems. London, Hogarth Press,1971. Distributed in US by Wesleyan University Press.

About the Poet

John Cotton (1925-2003), British poet. was the editor and printer of the poetry magazine Priapus (1967-1990) which he co-founded with poet and short-story writer Ted Walker. He has published several collections of poetry. [DES-9/06]

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