(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…