Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pig Roast

As you can plainly see, this is a boar, and Zelda was a sow. However, she was not that much smaller than this boar. She was a biiiiig pig. She was sweet souled and made a great pet.

Fresh off the composition pages, written in response to images posted by lovely friend Lucy, an English lady living in Britanny, who composes exquisite posts on many subjects, posts like this one...go here to Box Elder.

Pig Roast

If I had a sow
I would name her Zelda Mae
and she would eat corn
and root the fresh earth
and roll in her own mud patch
spouting deep wisdom
with the twitch and sweep
of her tiny curled up tail.

Then comes my birthday
eve and I must weep
as I spill her hot red blood,
then spit and roast her
for the gathering
of all my friends old and new
invited to eat
lovely Zelda Mae.

‎March ‎22, ‎2011 8:09 PM

What is true, Robert Ramberg, somewhat recently released (in 1971) from Navy duty lived on acreage very near Moffett Field where he had been stationed. In 1972, he held a pig roast on his birthday and he did raise Zelda as his pet and he did weep as he killed her. I was just then becoming Annie Sheekley's life mate and she brought me with her to that pig roast. There was a great deal of celebration and a huge feast and of course a sufficiency of Zelda who was a monumental sow. Annie Sheekley had had two main jobs, though in the other one when I met her. She was the front desk clerk at the Hotel Ste Claire in downtown San Jose, but also she had been a cocktail waitress at the Officer's Club on the naval base at Moffett Field. That's where Annie met Ramberg. Annie and I spent our first year together in the apartment she had rented in Mountain View to be near Moffett Field.

Wiki says:
Moffett Federal Airfield, also known as Moffett Field, is a joint civil-military airport located between northern Mountain View and northern Sunnyvale, California, USA. The airport is near the south end of San Francisco Bay, northwest of San Jose. Formerly a United States Navy facility, the former naval air station is now owned and operated by the NASA Ames Research Center.

This picture is taken from the south, more or less over where we lived and looking north to the south portion of San Francisco Bay. We lived in an apartment complex just off Middlefield Road, with Fat Albert, the white rabbit in a cage on the small patio and an abandoned all white kitten we called Alonza.


  1. chris,
    this is a a painful poem..if you remember i once said that sometimes you do write like bukowski...simple and hard to the core...when i read this i was reminded of this...i consider a masterpiece..personally...ofcourse i'm not aware if you have read it before or not....if not then i'm sure you would see how almost sisterly both sound....(i didnt use brotherly because i suppose that rarely ever happens)

  2. Thanks so much, both for leaving it there and the link here. It's really splendid.

    Weeping over the pig is a persistent trope in pastoral life, James Herriot in his memoirs of life as a vet in 1930s Yorkshire wrote of a farmer who cried every year for a week each time the pig was killed, lamenting that the animal was 'like a Christian'.

    Another guy I read once said that the best thing to do was to keep a breeding sow, whom one could hang on to and regard as a member of the family, and raise her litters for eating. He said that at the point when they had to go they had become obnoxious teenagers whom one was glad to see the back of.

    Quite a few people round here keep sheep for meat, including our stonemason, a rugged man but nevertheless thankful whenever he was able to hang on to a ewe lamb, and not inclined even to eat the meat, but to give it away to his family.

    Glad to have played a part in sparking some memories....

  3. It is a painful poem, Manik, meant to be. It lies at the core of things. Life lives by eating life. That is so right that some of our greatest pleasures are gustatory. I can't get past the rudeness of being prey in this process. In this case Zelda might not have been okay giving her life for a birthday party. It was however, a very good party. Zelda tasted like a very happy pig.

    Lucy, I am in awe whenever someone brings a quote to the table like that. I have of course read more than one of James Herriot's books years ago, but couldn't remember much out of them to save my life. The teenaged pigs idea is highly amusing. Pigs are so "human" I have no doubt that some of them, even most perhaps, are very difficult as teenagers (in pig years, of course).


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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