Mansfield, Charlie

British, (b. 1955)

Herding Swine

  1. Dangerous, them lot,
  2. They root around and mark the ground,
  3. And every sound they make’s
  4. Both meaningless and clear.
  6. Their familiar skin,
  7. And the shape they’re in
  8. Seem natural enough
  9. But fear, a moment’s concentration loss
  10. Could cost a finger, dear.
  12. Their appetite’s eclectic,
  13. Their unrestricted taste
  14. Would take our prudish manners
  15. And gobble them, in haste.
  17. Yet, if in herds you pen them,
  18. On ‘mast or meadow bloom
  19. Their startling backs will gleam in rows
  20. Against the gathering gloom.
  22. Satisfied, their shapes will hold,
  23. Eternally, they say,
  24. The last, pink glowing memory
  25. Of every sunny day.

© Charlie Mansfield
Used with permission.

Editor’s Note:

You can find out more about Charlie Mansfield at: or

About the Poet

Charlie Mansfield (b. 1955), is a Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh for the research project The Making of the Queen’s Manuscript which focuses on the largest surviving manuscript of the works of Christine de Pizan (1365-c.1431). [DES-9/08]

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