Berrell, Celia

England / Australia, (b. 1950)

AUTOPSY

  1. A feral pig-life’s sentence ends
  2. full stop. A bullet aimed head-on.
  3.  
  4. A scientist investigates
  5. environmental impacts by
  6. the skilled and careful study
  7. of the animals that die.
  8.  
  9. A feral pig. No living way
  10. to tell its tale of health and strife
  11. reveals so much to one who takes
  12. the time to take its life.
  13.  
  14. Unwrapped upon a shady bed
  15. a make-shift platform interview
  16. with knives and scales and bloodied notes
  17. among the grassy dew.
  18.  
  19. The blank-eyed stare; the gaping mouth
  20. confirm a stunned and quick release
  21. from all life’s complications, which
  22. have left the beast at peace.
  23.  
  24. The colouring; the skin and teeth
  25. imply its age and more besides
  26. when scrutinised and classified
  27. by one with expert eyes.
  28.  
  29. The sweeping sharpness of a blade
  30. has splayed away the surface skin
  31. exposing organs glistening
  32. for one to search within.
  33.  
  34. The parasites parade and squirm
  35. off-guard; still vibrant in their home
  36. of lung and liver; kidney, heart
  37. now find a need to roam.
  38.  
  39. The stomach with its vomit stench
  40. spills out environmental grief
  41. endangered frogs; worms, eggs and more
  42. extinguished life so brief.
  43.  
  44. This ritual autopsy site
  45. pays due respect. Excised by knife
  46. a pig’s obituary judged
  47. within the court of life.

 Celia Berrell. from: 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall by Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov. Mossman, Qld: Pavecol Wildlife Management (2009).

PIGS IN PARADISE

  1. There’s a clearing in the forest
  2. where the grass grows lush and green
  3. as sprinklers from the sewage farm
  4. create an earthworm’s dream.
  5.  
  6. And feral pigs are passionate
  7. about a tasty feed of worms
  8. and give no thought about the fact
  9. they’re rooting up the pooey germs.
  10.  
  11. Their curly tails are wagging fast
  12. expressing their elation.
  13. They barely glance at passers-by
  14. so deep their concentration.
  15.  
  16. We really ought to terminate
  17. their terrible destruction.
  18. But when you saw their ecstasy
  19. it makes it hard to mention.
  20.  
  21. As happy as a pig in shit
  22. may be their own demise.
  23. For who could kill their joyousness
  24. in piggy paradise?

 Celia Berrell. from: 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall by Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov. Mossman, Qld: Pavecol Wildlife Management (2009).

RAVENOUS

  1. A herbivore eats mainly plants
  2. like leaves and shoots and blades of grass.
  3. Insectivores eat mostly bugs
  4. from flying ones to baby grubs.
  5. A carnivore eats mostly meat
  6. (ideally served at body-heat)
  7.  
  8. But omnivores like pig or man
  9. consume most anything they can.
  10. From seeds and eggs to tuber roots;
  11. from worms and frogs to nuts and fruits.
  12. It doesn’t matter if it died…
  13. as long as it can fit inside.

 Celia Berrell. from: 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall by Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov. Mossman, Qld: Pavecol Wildlife Management (2009).

PIG STEW

  1. The pig was shot an hour ago
  2. and lashed upon the car.
  3. Its bristles black, now caked in dust
  4. from dirt-roads travelled far.
  5.  
  6. They hung it in a nearby tree
  7. among the flies and heat.
  8. Then amputated all its legs
  9. to butcher out the meat.
  10.  
  11. A camp-fire made, a pot was boiled
  12. with vegetables to brew.
  13. That piggy meat was chopped in cubes
  14. and chucked onto the stew.
  15.  
  16. A dash of beer was added and
  17. the tasty mix was stirred.
  18. But when they came to eat it, only
  19. groaning sounds were heard.
  20.  
  21. The cubes had shrunk to marbles as
  22. the meat was far too fresh.
  23. Like chewing on some leather chunks…
  24. “It weren’t a tender dish!”

 Celia Berrell. from: 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall by Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov. Mossman, Qld: Pavecol Wildlife Management (2009).

CROP CIRCLES

  1. Enigmas in the countryside
  2. where humans can abound
  3. are flattened shapes within the wheat.
  4. Artistic circles, round.
  5.  
  6. And from a plane, this stunning sight
  7. of geometric forms
  8. provokes the thought of aliens
  9. creating signs to warn.
  10.  
  11. But out-back in Australia
  12. there’s little time for fun
  13. like squashing crops in pretty shapes,
  14. so by the pigs it’s done.

 Celia Berrell. from: 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall by Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov. Mossman, Qld: Pavecol Wildlife Management (2009).

ALL ABOARD

  1. Of all domestic ungulates
  2. (like cattle, goats and sheep)
  3. the pig would be our closest mate.
  4. Convenient to keep.
  5.  
  6. Intelligent; adaptive too
  7. and quick to reproduce.
  8. Not small amounts of one or two
  9. but plenty all at once.
  10.  
  11. Because they eat most anything
  12. in order to survive
  13. these economic rubbish-bins
  14. weren’t hard to keep alive.
  15.  
  16. And so they sailed to distant shores
  17. on human explorations.
  18. And unlike rate, resourceful boars
  19. arrived by invitation.

 Celia Berrell. from: 2000 Feral Pigs: my part in their downfall by Dr. Peter “Piggy” Heise-Pavlov. Mossman, Qld: Pavecol Wildlife Management (2009).

Editor’s Note:

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]

Additional information:

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