Bachlund, Gary

United States, (b. 1947)


  1. (for Lisa Cutler Gomberg)
  3. If, to know the pig, we undertook,
  4. In a wordy book, then, we would look.
  5. Thence, we find it necessary
  6. To study Webster’s pig-tionary.
  7. Pig, pronounced, ‘pig,’ is a noun, of course;
  8. Pig, we learn, is not a horse.
  9. Middle English brought us ‘pigge.’
  10. Now, Saxon speech is not so ‘bigge.’
  11. One: a swine, not sexually mature,
  12. Or so it says in the pig brochure.
  13. But let us not inform the pig
  14. About its immature thing-a-ma-jig.
  15. Broadly, a wild or domestic swine,
  16. Yet, spineless, like a naked porcupine.
  17. Two, a: some say a pig is pork,
  18. Like fat on the government’s greasy fork.
  19. Two, b: (or not to be) the carcass of a youthful swine,
  20. Central to the luau’s extravagant design.
  21. Two, c: pigskin, or a football, tightly stitched,
  22. Or a gentleman’s saddle, oft unhitched.
  23. Three, a: one who resembles a pig;
  24. This, a most effective dig.
  25. Three, b: an animal related to,
  26. Or quite alike one, through and through.
  27. Four: a casting, crude, of smelted metal,
  28. Like iron that makes the ferrous kettle.
  29. Five: that’s slang for an immoral woman,
  30. Not quite tref, and all too human.
  31. The pig has quite a well known snout;
  32. Its trunk is both corpulent and stout;
  33. The pig ends in a corkscrew tail;
  34. In fact, it’s piggy in every detail.
  35. A pigboat is a submarine,
  36. A swimming, splashing, diving machine.
  37. The pigfish are salt water grunts,
  38. And some of the ocean’s smaller runts.
  39. The piggery is where our swine are kept;
  40. It is unclean, unwashed, unswept.
  41. Then, there’s piggyback, as we ride
  42. Upon some other’s broad backside.
  43. Pig’s feet are generally pickled in brine,
  44. And not a favorite food of mine.
  45. Whene’er we deal with a pig-headed fool,
  46. Beware of the pig-headed ridicule.
  47. Pig Latin is not what people say,
  48. But, rather, ig-Pay atin-Lay.
  49. A pig pen is the same as
  50. Whatever the piggery or pig sty has.
  51. Pigtails descend from the Tartars’ braid,
  52. And are of lengthy woven hair made.
  53. Pigs in a blanket are recreational;
  54. At a picnic, children find them masticational.
  55. Never buy a pig in a poke;
  56. It is the flim-flam’s masterstroke.
  57. Pigs once were sacred to each ancient Cretan,
  58. And not available for general eatin’.
  59. Mythological Jupiter was suckled by a sow;
  60. He wouldn’t sip from the lowly cow.
  61. Pigs were immolated in Eleusian mystery;
  62. Barbecues seem their regular history.
  63. Alas, poor pigs were sacrificed
  64. And sent to pigdom’s paradise.
  65. Yet, in a card game, a pig is placed;
  66. The “pig’s eye” is the Diamond’s ace.
  67. Shakespeare’s Shylock acts the prig;
  68. “Some men there are love not the gaping pig.”
  69. In childhood, nonsense is often told:
  70. “Here a pig, there a pig, everywhere a pig! Old….”
  71. And when the Big Bad Wolf had blown,
  72. Still stood a pig’s house made of stone.
  73. Now, to market, went one little pig;
  74. Compared to the others, he is quite big.
  75. The second, we’re told, stayed at home;
  76. Perhaps, for him, t’was nowhere to roam.
  77. The next one had his roast beef,
  78. For bacon would have caused him too great a grief.
  79. And another had nothing to eat;
  80. A vegetarian, he would not eat meat.
  81. The last little piggy was no gastronome,
  82. And was sent wee-wee-wee, all the way home.
  83. When children hear the coin-made clank,
  84. It’s savings in their piggy bank.
  85. Enough to know, enough to learn,
  86. Unless to be a pig we yearn.
  87. I, for one, did not renege
  88. Herein to contemplate the pig.

© Gary Bachlund. Used with permission.

Orwell’s Pigs

  1. Orwell’s pigs sew discontent,
  2. yet feed themselves quite well.
  3. Orwell’s pigs broach no dissent;
  4. dissent can go to hell.
  6. Orwell’s pigs show simple greed,
  7. to rake in what they please.
  8. Orwell wrote that we should know
  9. of pigs’ absurdities.
  11. Pigs do wallow in their sties
  12. with Chicken Little’s cries;
  13. Being pigs, they theorize
  14. high Marx in pig disguise.
  16. Orwell’s pigs? Were they fiction?
  17. Or is there nagging fact?
  18. Orwell’s pigs’ predilection
  19. in activists react.
  21. And from each tiny molehill
  22. pigs build their temple mount,
  23. Against each piggy windmill
  24. they piggily surmount.
  26. Those who have to pigs who need
  27. is how pigs gain their feed.
  28. Others bleed, such pigs concede,
  29. for so this must precede
  31. Some future years of plenty
  32. when pigs have had their fill.
  33. But more than ten or twenty
  34. long years are past, and still
  36. Orwell’s pigs sew discontent
  37. while feeding very well,
  38. Those who dare pronounce dissent
  39. are answered with a yell.
  41. Orwell’s pigs do not allow
  42. an argument, or facts;
  43. Pigs’ ad hominem to cow
  44. is how the pig distracts.
  46. Orwell’s work might well be burned,
  47. if piggies had their way.
  48. Orwell’s truth, to be discerned,
  49. might well be learned today.
  51. Orwell’s pigs sew discontent,
  52. yet feed themselves quite well.
  53. Orwell’s pigs broach no dissent;
  54. dissent can go to hell.

© Gary Bachlund. Used with permission.

The Slop Pails and the Pig

“We’re here to bring the slop,” said the Slop Pails to the Pig.

“But dare not spill a single drop,” said Piggy, fattened, big, “for it must been rightly seen,” mumbled Piggy as he lunched, “my girth and weight, I mean, ‘s your fault,” he mumble as he munched. “Were it not for capacious you, I could not fatten thus; and so the blame is due to you, slop buckets, as I cuss.

“I bear no blame nor guilt to waddle as I do; this fat is what you’ve built, my pigness through and through. The larger that I grow, the more’s the guilt you’ll hold. I bear no blame, you know, though in the mud I’ve rolled. You are the causes of all wrong, and I am guiltless, pure. And if I sing this piggy song, it’s you, you pails are sure to learn your fault is great, as mine is miniscule; obesity shall be my fate, because you are so cruel.”

The Slop Pails thought it through, and paused upon this thing, whereon Pig cried, “Hey you! Where is the slop you bring? You cannot stop! You are but Pails! I am your Lordly Pig! And if this sloppy system fails I cannot grow more big! Work on! Bear both guilt and slop! I command this, piggily. And do not think to ever stop! I threaten, wiggily.”

“We’re here to bring the slop,” said the Slop Pails to the Pig.

“And dare not spill a single drop,” oinked Piggy, fattened, big.

“We bring it all and then serve more, and know you shall not waken until someday, with what’s in store, you’ll be but frying bacon.”

© Gary Bachlund. Used with permission.

Pigs Don’t Fly

  1. Pigs don’t fly.
  2. Flies don’t grunt.
  3. Words oft lie,
  4. Back to front.
  5. Words can fly
  6. Back and forth,
  7. Spreading lies,
  8. South, as north.
  9. Something’s lost
  10. In that mist,
  11. Meaning crossed,
  12. Milled as grist.
  13. If pigs flew,
  14. Worlds would change.
  15. All things could
  16. Rearrange.
  17. Until then
  18. Pigs just rut.
  19. Such is life,
  20. Snout to butt.

© Gary Bachlund. Used with permission.

Politics is Where the Pig

  1. Politics is when the pig
  2. says that he’s your mister big;
  3. privately he gives a fig
  4. while he wheels and deals
  5. and steals and feels that this is his gig.
  7. Lobbyists all bring him cash,
  8. fattening his campaign stash,
  9. lapping up the balderdash,
  10. while they seal their deals
  11. and squeal the spiel’s political hash.
  13. Common folks bear common yokes,
  14. while the fat cats come to play;
  15. and the common woes of the common Joes
  16. never seem to get in the way.
  18. Politics is when the pork
  19. serves itself with knife and fork;
  20. celebrate and pop the cork,
  21. “Cheers” from Boston to Austin, Key Largo to Fargo
  22. and L. A. to New York.
  24. “Money talks, and walks the walks,
  25. ‘cross this big wide Pork Chop land”
  26. squawk the “Pigs in Plunderland.”
  28. Oh yez, politics is when the pig
  29. pig-like wheels and deals and steals
  30. and feels that he’s mister big.

© Gary Bachlund. Used with permission.

About the Poet:

Gary Bachlund (b. 1947) is a U.S. composer, operatic tenor and poet. A native of Los Angeles, California, he segments his time there with an additional residence in Berlin, Germany. He has written over 400 art songs in many languages, as well as choral, liturgical and chamber works.

Bachlund studied theory and composition privately with Eugene Zador, as well as with Dorrance Stalvey at Immaculate Heart College and at UCLA with Roger Bourland, Roy Travis, Ian Krouse, Elaine Barkin, and Paul Reale, and music education and aesthetics with Abraham Schwadron and Maurice Gerow. He earned his Masters Degree (1991) and Ph.D. (1993) in composition from University of California, Los Angeles.

As a guest artist in operatic performances in the U.S., Canada, Great Britian and the European continent, Bachlund has been a guest artist in roles that include Tristan, Tannhauser, and Parsifal, as well as Siegmund (Die Walkure), Erik (Der fliegende Hollander), Loge and Froh (Das Rheingold); Strauss’ Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Aegisth (Elektra). [DES-03/12]

Additional Information

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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