Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Swinherd by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin & a Levi-Strauss quote on pig qua meditation prop

Many ways to view paradise, old age, the gentle glory of appreciation. On a website dedicated to "Considering the pig, a single-minded bestiary" {porkopolis.org} I found "Swineherd" by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin; and while this reflection on the gentle glory of appreciation, anticipation, age, whatever else, needs no accompaniment, the website itself charms and so I offer another of treasures, being a quotation:   
In our thoughts and words, pigs are generous figures of speech.  They freely lend their intrinsic nature to us for simile and metaphor, hyperbole and idio.  Pigs are also handy to use in personification or in analogy and allergory. And pigs are certainly good for swearing.     
Claude Levi-Strauss, Totenism, 1963 ... read the rest of the quote here.
And Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin's poem:


  1. When all this is over, said the swineherd,
  2. I mean to retire, where
  3. Nobody will have heard about my special skills
  4. And conversation is mainly about the weather.
  5. I intend to learn how to make coffee, as least as well
  6. As the Portuguese lay-sister in the kitchen
  7. And polish the brass fenders every day.
  8. I want to lie awake at night
  9. Listening to cream crawling to the top of the jug
  10. And the water lying soft in the cistern.
  11. I want to see an orchard where the trees grow in straight lines
  12. And the yellow fox finds shelter between the navy-blue trunks,
  13. Where it gets dark early in summer
  14. And the apple-blossom is allowed to wither on the bough.
© Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Acts and Monuments. Dublin, The Gallery Press, 1972.

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