Siegel, Robert

United States, (b. 1939)

Sow’s Ear

  1. Here comes a lusty Wooer,
  2. My a Dildin my A Daldin,
  3. Here comes a lusty Wooer,
  4. Lilly bright and shine a’
  5.  
  6. Fifty sows dozing in the hard-packed yard,
  7. fifty sows, all sizes, from purple majesty
  8. to pink ninny,
  9. fifty, sluttish, given to untidy houses,
  10. the open robe of morning, flea in the ear,
  11. snorting, swilling the hay-strewn water;
  12. some indifferent as the Sierra Madre
  13. steaming over deserts, features lost
  14. in foothills and ridges of fat;
  15. others petulant, bristling,
  16. practicing the small clean bite.
  17.  
  18. The lean young boar, thick-necked,
  19. walks a plank from the truckbed,
  20. razor-backed, tufted, tusks rounded to ball-bearings,
  21. lord of the mountains, the hills of flesh,
  22. the little valleys spread before him.
  23.  
  24. He is small, but the muscles of his neck
  25. can break a hound, or a man’s leg.
  26.  
  27. First one, sullen, whitish-purple in the heat,
  28. stands off, pegs the dirt — mean hussy —
  29. grunts, Come show me, Bastard!
  30. Grunts, and grunts again.
  31.  
  32. Though he doesn’t turn toward her, he sees her.
  33. Still, he waits for her waddling run,
  34. her little yellow teeth
  35. bared for the swipe at his haunch,
  36. swivels and knocks her off balance —
  37. blood pudding, sack of fat!
  38. Terror curdling from her throat, she
  39. telegraphs herself to a far corner,
  40. peg peg peg peg peg.
  41.  
  42. The second, caught off guard,
  43. lies where she falls, croaking.
  44.  
  45. But the third,
  46. mother of clouds and mountains,
  47. 400 pounds of mauve-and-pink repose,
  48. feels their cries stoke a fire in her bowels,
  49. a vein of lava creep from marble hams,
  50. through vesuvial lungs,
  51. to the flexing crab of her brain.
  52. Uncertainly, on one leg, then two,
  53. she jacks herself from the primal pool
  54. where gnats nidder and dance.
  55. The mud swings crusted on her teats,
  56. falls in patches from her belly:
  57.  
  58. What are these that tickle the brain?
  59. Love’s tiny cries? The yammering mouths?
  60. Squeals that hang like sausages?
  61. No, not those tender attentions.
  62.  
  63. Dimly, she remembers something
  64. unlocked from her, a trembling, a quake,
  65. an eruption,
  66. when once she opened and
  67. free from her hulk
  68. the delicate she of a dream
  69. danced like rain on a corrugated roof,
  70. pooled in cool wallows,
  71. sprouted under tender thistle,
  72. rolled in goldenrod and clover,
  73. frisked with the cat and suckling.
  74.  
  75. Turning toward him like a locomotive
  76. on its turntable, the steam
  77. of her memories creasing all her jowls
  78. to one truculent smile, she charges:
  79.  
  80. Oh to be the blue fly, the bee, golden,
  81. jigging above the ticklish purple!
  82. BANG
  83. Aye, this is the rub,
  84. the tickle of love! she snorts, enamored.
  85. BANG
  86. O honey bee, sweetling
  87. hungry for my attentions!
  88.  
  89. Again she turns where the boar, dizzy
  90. and sore in the neck, stands baffled.
  91. Having assaulted with his head the Himalayas,
  92. having not gotten over the foothills,
  93. he staggers in disbelief
  94. as Everest trundles toward him.
  95.  
  96. This is the one! Husband! she croons,
  97. full and resonant as a bullfrog,
  98. Sweet chop, my porker, my honey cob!
  99.  
  100. O what a squall of pipers,
  101. what a regiment of bloodcurdling love
  102. dooms over the highlands of her corpus
  103. resounding from glen and hillside
  104. as she advances on him in a corner,
  105. stale and snuffed as Macbeth,
  106. head slung low as all the world marches on him,
  107. to meet the fate, perilous, magnificent,
  108. of fathering five-hundred friskers.

© Robert Siegel. The Beloit Poetry Journal. Volume 28 — Number 4, Summer 1978.

About the Poet:

Robert Siegel, Ph D. (b. 1939) is a U.S. poet, novelist and teacher. Siegel is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction. His books of poetry include: A Pentecost of Finches: New and Selected Poems, The Waters Under the Earth, The Beasts & The Elders, and In a Pig’s Eye. Siegel’s fiction includes the award winning Whalesong trilogy, which has been translated into several languages.

Siegel received his BA from Wheaton College, his MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University, and his PhD in English literature from Harvard University studying under Robert Lowell. He has received prizes and awards from Poetry, Prairie Schooner, America, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

Siegel, now retired, has taught at Dartmouth, Princeton, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, and for twenty-three years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he directed the graduate creative writing program and is currently professor emeritus of English. In 2008, Siegel was the first Nick Barker Writer in Residence at Covenant College in Georgia. [DES-03/12]

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