Poetry in Pubs is like sherbet to our Hero, especially poetry which involves his native race.
Roald Dahl is probably his favourite, with an ode to his people called The Pig. It features a pig Farmer and a hungry pig, and it has an unexpected finale!
‘In England once, there lived a big
and wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody its was plain, that piggy had a massive brain’:
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn’t read.
but sadly it all went pear -shaped in an unexpected sort of way!
Slowly he scratched his brainy head
And with a little smile he said:
“I had a fairly powerful hunch
That he might have me for his lunch
And so, because I feared the worst,
I thought I’d better eat him first
Not for the faint-hearted.
Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat is another love affair for our Hero. It’s such a romantic poem and, when sung, it gives a rousing finale for a pork crackling supper. But to our way of thinking, The Pig desperately under-sells his ring.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note…
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill…
Such happy co-existence between different animals.
Hilaire Belloc had a thing about animals and not surprisingly Pigs were centre stage. He was clearly greatly consumed by their eating habits and those of their cousin the Boar!
P stands for Pig,
as I remarked before,
A second cousin to the Huge Wild Boar.
But Pigs are civilized, while Huge Wild Boars
Live savagely, at random, out of doors,
And, in their coarse contempt for dainty foods,
Subsist on Truffles, which they find in woods.
Ending with the lovely lines:
Hence, Pigs devour, from lack of self-respect,
What Epicures would certainly reject.