Herds

Based on ‘Words’ by Tadeusz Różewicz

(translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston)

Published by archipelago books (New York, 2007)

Herds

Herds are rounded up

treated as fodder

for innocent smiles

reduced to mere patties

sold by a clown

.

macerated with machined steel

compressed into packets

wrapped

conveniently for

shipping

.

distant forests

have been cleared

reduced to pasture

for consumers

who know not this work

.

soon

disposed of

through the human gut

‘though residual traces lie in wait

still living

.

converted blood

converted bone

converted to something

else we use up

converted from living

creatures to

foodstuff

~

n.b. NaPoWriMo 2021 Button with white background Day 5 take a poem and convert its shape and sound into something of your own, using the first letter of each line from the original to start your own poem. I have taken the shape of a poem and used it as a template for my own, but using my own first letters. Not the original prompt, but as with all prompts, a starting point, not a proscriptive set of rules, (for me…). Also the original poem is not out online for you to cross reference, as far as I can find, sorry.

NaPoWriMo

~

CLP (05/04/2021)

Faithful Friend

My pet? Ah, yes

Stolid, Black Labrador with still vibrant, clumsy tail
We’ve seen some things, eh?
We’ve stuck close
Through thick, thin, thinner and thinning hair
We saw off them off with love
My departing children
We stood at the door side-by-side
As they left
One after the other, after the other

Saw him off too
With pots and pans, my best coffee mug
And your dumb, playful barking
But that wasn’t a game
Old pal
You great huggable, soppy, beast

Do you even know
That when you tugged covers from my bed
Desperate for me to let you out
(When I would have willingly laid
To drown in my own brine
Or sleep forever)
You saved my life
Do you even care that
Our walks together
Under these huge skies
Kept me alive

Now you, heavy with age
Less steady on your feet
Often slide to sit
Then sprawl and lie
Where you just happen to be
Hallway, dining room, or lounge
I’ve found you
Panting like a steam train
Letting you rest, recover
Or helping you up, bending double to lift your fat rear
Then guide you to water, or the yard
(You have been so good about that
Mostly)

You struggle to move
Until this one starts cooking
Oh! And then you’ll find strength enough
Despite the aches and pains
To get off the floor
Waddle out to him
Limp after his every step
Stand by him
Sniff his knee, lick his feet
Look up at him with affection
Through those milky-blind eyes
For hours
For what?

A morsel picked from the pan
A rough cut of carrot, split tomato
Dropped on the floor
For you to snuffle around
With your great wet nose
To slaver and slobber it up
Off the dusty floor

Look at you
Doddery, drooling
Pathetic old BITCH
This is how you repay my love?
Those veterinary bills
I could ill afford?

You wait ’til when he’s gone
And, believe me, he’ll go
He won’t stay long
His kind never do
He’ll move on
And then you’ll find, frail fool
You were just another whose heart he played

But don’t worry, honey
I’m not broke
I have been saving up
I’ve enough for one last cheque
You’ll find out soon enough
What betrayal costs

My pet.

n.b. www.napowrimo.net Day 29: Prompt: pet.

CLP 29/04/2020