Not prettiest of God’s creatures

(2016) I spent a few months living outside Roscrea town, in late winter. One day I visited a livestock mart, to experience this aspect of country life. Opposite the mart was a huge bacon factory, where large transporters queued up to deliver pigs to the slaughterhouse. It was quite distressing to hear the many porcine squeals drift across the road. I thought that I should try and capture the life of pigs in a poem…


Not the prettiest of God’s creatures,

bulbous in bulk, zany their features,

spot-smudged, bristly bodies pink,

pungent perfume, porcine stink.


Ark-protected,  proclaimed good,

pigs mock-fight, rollick in mud;

intelligent, known for empathy,

uncelebrated, unwritten in elegy.


Free range lives few pigs receive,

men dislike hooves that cleave;

drug-injected,  in smelly sheds,

cruelly confined, shitty cold beds.


Pig squeals in lorry transporters,

snouts smell dread, blood slaughter;

prodded, pushed, definite their doom:

bacon eaten in many dining rooms.


Merciless mocked, frequently affronted,

pathetic their prayers clumsily grunted;

no hero saviour – none to redeem,

full Irish fry here to stay, it seems…


One thought on “Not prettiest of God’s creatures

  1. Thank you for your courage to share this empathy! I am the beneficiary of this cruelty (offspring of a bacon producer with no ethical mindfulness) and grew up observing how humans write their own narrative. Your narrative is a touching contribution to a more informed and loving humanity.


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