View Of A Pig

This was written by the late Ted Hughes, most famous, I think, for being the husband of Sylvia Plath:

The pig lay on a barrow dead.
It weighed, they said, as much as three men.
Its eyes closed, pink white eyelashes.
Its trotters stuck straight out.

Such weight and thick pink bulk
Set in death seemed not just dead.
It was less than lifeless, further off.
It was like a sack of wheat.

I thumped it without feeling remorse.
One feels guilty insulting the dead,
Walking on graves. But this pig
Did not seem able to accuse.

It was too dead. Just so much
A poundage of lard and pork.
Its last dignity had entirely gone.
It was not a figure of fun.

Too dead now to pity.
To remember its life, din, stronghold
Of earthly pleasure as it had been,
Seemed a false effort, and off the point.

Too deadly factual. Its weight
Oppressed me—how could it be moved?
And the trouble of cutting it up!
The gash in its throat was shocking, but not pathetic.

Once I ran at a fair in the noise
To catch a greased piglet
That was faster and nimbler than a cat,
Its squeal was the rending of metal.

Pigs must have hot blood, they feel like ovens.
Their bite is worse than a horse’s—
They chop a half-moon clean out.
They eat cinders, dead cats.

Distinctions and admirations such
As this one was long finished with.
I stared at it a long time. They were going to scald it,
Scald it and scour it like a doorstep.


  • Micky

    November 29, 2012

    I used to be a live in housekeeper responsible for the general domestic chores.
    Also had to manage three teenage girls and a 5 year old boy, and grandma.
    One of the girls raised a little pot belly pig “Wilbur” as a 4 H project.
    Every day Brandy and I would boil up Wilburs grub and bring it to him at campus.
    It was the highlight of his day to see us coming. He’d run in circles like a dog chasing his tail, grunt, shake his head, claw at the gate. After his meal we’d hose him down and walk him on a leash,I swear he would smile.
    A few months after the school year finished Wilbur was scheduled for “processing”.
    After a week of his little rump being cured for bacon and ham he came home.
    I’ve been to many slaughter houses, broken down countless sides of beef, lamb, pigs, sent my cleaver into frogs crotches to separate their legs,(it felt sinister, they look like people legs with flippers) beheaded chickens ducks and turkeys.
    After Wilbur, eating pork has never been the same.
    Kinda like how AA takes away that joyful apprehension you have when sitting down at the bar.
    I guess if theres any silver lining for Mr. Huges pig it would be that it was not Veal.

    I would prepare that pig and serve him with the utmost respect and attention so he would have the dignity he was so sadly was robbed of.
    He would be a beautiful memory to anyone at the table.

  • Ray

    October 6, 2014

    I’m sorry, Micky. I just saw this.

    I liked it it very much.

  • Micky

    October 13, 2014

    I know you like my unconventional scatterbrained mindset of literary genius and grammatical garbage so I entered with the intent to please and humor you,… maybe even a little euphoria produced of a “Rational Reality” influenced by a “Bagel Of All Things”.
    I aim to please.
    Maybe one day, as much as you hate religion or a prescription to faith, I’ll gift you with my own personal rendition of the old and new testament and what really happens when our rotting corpses can no longer support thoughts dependent on micro pulses of electricity.
    Energy can never be destroyed, only transferred.
    And the virgin birth is the largest crock of shit since bottled drinking water.

  • Nick Gunning

    September 22, 2015

    Ted Hughes was also the poet laureate for many years. His volume of poems ‘Hawk in the Rain’ was very influential. Can I also recommend Wind: This house has been at sea all night. ..
    Like Van Gough or Munch set into words.

  • Ray

    September 23, 2015

    Thank you, Nick. I tried but never found the Hawk in the Rain poems to be nearly as satisfying as his earlier stuff.

    The poems from Lupercal — Otter, Bull Moses, Pike, and View of a Pig, in particular — are and have long been among my all-time favorites.

    I appreciate your comment.

    Thank you for dropping by.

  • Ethan Lewis

    August 19, 2020

    Salutations, and thank you for posting.

    You might enjoy Sylvia Plath’s “Sow”–an ode to a pig as monumentally alive as Hughes’ is monumentally dead. Both poems also partake of remarkable (fitting) heaviness–Plath via past particples, Hughes through sheer iterated emphasis on weight. Likely, too, you’d enjoy Utah’s great pig poet, David Lee, author of “The Porcine Canticles” and “The Porcine Legacy.” Too, check out Kit Stokes’ pig sonnets in “Bethel Grove.”

    Thanks again.



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