A Shropshire Pig


The day you won the ribbon blue
The farmers yelled and cheered for you
The fattest pig presented there
At Shropshire’s Agricultural Fair.

All summer long you’d packed the pounds:
Of grains and nuts you’d made your rounds.
No vegetable could by you pass
Or it enhanced your porcine mass.

Though now in deeper mud you lay
And no more shall you win the day
You’re yet more fortunate than those
Who in their quiet sties still doze.

Your name, your form, your peerless weight
Are fixed forever by your fate:
You’ve freed yourself from creeping time
Which turns prized pigs to thinner swine.


As down the lane we passed one eve,
The farmer walking home with me,
The elm-tree said to setting sun:
“Their time together’s almost done.
His head shall rest under the loam
While other pig-men lead her home.
And long before the spring’s rains weep
In another’s sty she’ll sleep.”

A new voice now calls me to eat
I root for scraps by different feet.
But elm-tree says to rising moon:
“They’ll be forever parted soon.”
And though its voice I cannot hear
The hour’s ever drawing near
When I shall moulder like a log
And he shall call another hog.


Far I hear the pig-call cry,
Announcing food I care not try.
It summons me, lest I be late:
“Pig-hooey! Come and put on weight!”

Dared I ignore the farmer’s call
I’d stay and wallow in my stall.
How nice to sleep! How meanly dull
To stuff myself when I am full.

But any sow who fails to eat
Among the prized-pigs can’t compete,
And if I munch too leisurely
It’s bacon that I soon will be.

So up I heave my ample frame
And play the farmer’s bulking game:
Best eat and prosper while you can,
Else sizzle in tomorrow’s pan.

                                        A.G. Wodeman