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Sow Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 25

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God knows how our neighbor managed to breed

His great sow:

Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hid

In the same way

He kept the sow--impounded from public stare,

Prize ribbon and pig show.

But one dusk our questions commended us to a tour

Through his lantern-lit

Maze of barns to the lintel of the sunk sty door

To gape at it:

This was no rose-and-larkspurred china suckling

With a penny slot

For thrift children, nor dolt pig ripe for heckling,

About to be

Glorified for prime flesh and golden crackling

In a parsley halo;

Nor even one of the common barnyard sows,

Mire-smirched, blowzy,

Maunching thistle and knotweed on her snout-


Bloat tun of milk

On the move, hedged by a litter of feat-foot ninnies

Shrilling her hulk

To halt for a swig at the pink teats. No. This vast

Brobdingnag bulk

Of a sow lounged belly-bedded on that black


Fat-rutted eyes

Dream-filmed. What a vision of ancient hoghood


Thus wholly engross

The great grandam!--our marvel blazoned a knight,

Helmed, in cuirass,

Unhorsed and shredded in the grove of combat

By a grisly-bristled

Boar, fabulous enough to straddle that sow's heat.

But our farmer whistled,

Then, with a jocular fist thwacked the barrel nape,

And the green-copse-castled

Pig hove, letting legend like dried mud drop,

Slowly, grunt

On grunt, up in the flickering light to shape

A monument

Prodigious in gluttonies as that hog whose want

Made lean Lent

Of kitchen slops and, stomaching no constraint,

Proceeded to swill

The seven troughed seas and every earthquaking


Submitted by J.D. Maciel


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