Sylvia Plath


God knows how our neighbor managed to breed His great sow: Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hid In the same way He kept the sow--impounded from public stare, Prize ribbon and pig show. But one dusk our questions commended us to a tour Through his lantern-lit Maze of barns to the lintel of the sunk sty door To gape at it: This was no rose-and-larkspurred china suckling With a penny slot For thrift children, nor dolt pig ripe for heckling, About to be Glorified for prime flesh and golden crackling In a parsley halo; Nor even one of the common barnyard sows, Mire-smirched, blowzy, Maunching thistle and knotweed on her snout- cruise-- Bloat tun of milk On the move, hedged by a litter of feat-foot ninnies Shrilling her hulk To halt for a swig at the pink teats. No. This vast Brobdingnag bulk Of a sow lounged belly-bedded on that black compost, Fat-rutted eyes Dream-filmed. What a vision of ancient hoghood must Thus wholly engross The great grandam!--our marvel blazoned a knight, Helmed, in cuirass, Unhorsed and shredded in the grove of combat By a grisly-bristled Boar, fabulous enough to straddle that sow's heat. But our farmer whistled, Then, with a jocular fist thwacked the barrel nape, And the green-copse-castled Pig hove, letting legend like dried mud drop, Slowly, grunt On grunt, up in the flickering light to shape A monument Prodigious in gluttonies as that hog whose want Made lean Lent Of kitchen slops and, stomaching no constraint, Proceeded to swill The seven troughed seas and every earthquaking continent.

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