England / Australia, (b. 1950)
- A feral pig-life’s sentence ends
- full stop. A bullet aimed head-on.
- A scientist investigates
- environmental impacts by
- the skilled and careful study
- of the animals that die.
- A feral pig. No living way
- to tell its tale of health and strife
- reveals so much to one who takes
- the time to take its life.
- Unwrapped upon a shady bed
- a make-shift platform interview
- with knives and scales and bloodied notes
- among the grassy dew.
- The blank-eyed stare; the gaping mouth
- confirm a stunned and quick release
- from all life’s complications, which
- have left the beast at peace.
- The colouring; the skin and teeth
- imply its age and more besides
- when scrutinised and classified
- by one with expert eyes.
- The sweeping sharpness of a blade
- has splayed away the surface skin
- exposing organs glistening
- for one to search within.
- The parasites parade and squirm
- off-guard; still vibrant in their home
- of lung and liver; kidney, heart
- now find a need to roam.
- The stomach with its vomit stench
- spills out environmental grief
- endangered frogs; worms, eggs and more
- extinguished life so brief.
- This ritual autopsy site
- pays due respect. Excised by knife
- a pig’s obituary judged
- within the court of life.
PIGS IN PARADISE
- There’s a clearing in the forest
- where the grass grows lush and green
- as sprinklers from the sewage farm
- create an earthworm’s dream.
- And feral pigs are passionate
- about a tasty feed of worms
- and give no thought about the fact
- they’re rooting up the pooey germs.
- Their curly tails are wagging fast
- expressing their elation.
- They barely glance at passers-by
- so deep their concentration.
- We really ought to terminate
- their terrible destruction.
- But when you saw their ecstasy
- it makes it hard to mention.
- As happy as a pig in shit
- may be their own demise.
- For who could kill their joyousness
- in piggy paradise?
- A herbivore eats mainly plants
- like leaves and shoots and blades of grass.
- Insectivores eat mostly bugs
- from flying ones to baby grubs.
- A carnivore eats mostly meat
- (ideally served at body-heat)
- But omnivores like pig or man
- consume most anything they can.
- From seeds and eggs to tuber roots;
- from worms and frogs to nuts and fruits.
- It doesn’t matter if it died…
- as long as it can fit inside.
- The pig was shot an hour ago
- and lashed upon the car.
- Its bristles black, now caked in dust
- from dirt-roads travelled far.
- They hung it in a nearby tree
- among the flies and heat.
- Then amputated all its legs
- to butcher out the meat.
- A camp-fire made, a pot was boiled
- with vegetables to brew.
- That piggy meat was chopped in cubes
- and chucked onto the stew.
- A dash of beer was added and
- the tasty mix was stirred.
- But when they came to eat it, only
- groaning sounds were heard.
- The cubes had shrunk to marbles as
- the meat was far too fresh.
- Like chewing on some leather chunks…
- “It weren’t a tender dish!”
- Enigmas in the countryside
- where humans can abound
- are flattened shapes within the wheat.
- Artistic circles, round.
- And from a plane, this stunning sight
- of geometric forms
- provokes the thought of aliens
- creating signs to warn.
- But out-back in Australia
- there’s little time for fun
- like squashing crops in pretty shapes,
- so by the pigs it’s done.
- Of all domestic ungulates
- (like cattle, goats and sheep)
- the pig would be our closest mate.
- Convenient to keep.
- Intelligent; adaptive too
- and quick to reproduce.
- Not small amounts of one or two
- but plenty all at once.
- Because they eat most anything
- in order to survive
- these economic rubbish-bins
- weren’t hard to keep alive.
- And so they sailed to distant shores
- on human explorations.
- And unlike rate, resourceful boars
- arrived by invitation.
These six poems by Celia Berrell are part of a series of sixteen poems featured in 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall. As she explained to me:
Please find attached the selection of pig-related poems I wrote for Dr. Peter M. Heise-Pavlov’s book “2000 Feral Pigs my part in their downfall”.
I met Piggy in Cape Tribulation while working at a resort called Coconut Beach Rainforest Lodge in the Daintree Rainforest and gave him the poem “Pigs in Paradise” which he used in a presentation in England (slightly modified to not offend the British). I later assisted by taking notes whilst Piggy performed an autopsy on a recently trapped feral pig, just across the road from the resort. After writing and presenting him with “Autopsy”, he suggested I write a series of poems to accompany his research memoirs, which I was delighted to do.
Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov’s book is an absorbing and amusing memoir of his adventures and discoveries while doing feral pig research and control in far North Queensland. Celia Berrell’s combination of science facts and playfulness in her poetry are a fine augmentation to this work.
Here is more information on Dr. Heise-Pavlov’s book at:
About the Poet:
Celia Berrell, (b. 1950) is an England-born Australian writer and poet who often refers to herself as “The Alien Queen of Science Poetry”.
She is best known for her series Science Rhymes, which have been published in textbooks for Australian, Irish and Canadian high school students and by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the federal government agency for scientific research in Australia.
As a regular contributor to Australia’s CSIRO children’s science magazines
Double Helix and its predecessor Scientriffic, Berrell artfully combines science and rhyming verse.
In 2012, with the assistance of a grant from the Regional Arts Development Fund, thirty-four of Berrell’s poems were released as an eBook on Amazon Kindle (and limited edition hard copy) titled Celia Berrell’s Science Rhymes. Each poem was vetted for scientific accuracy and educational merit by Science Educator Dr. Clifford Jackson from James Cook University Cairns Australia. [DES-11/17]