Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Liz Berry

SOW

SOW

SOW

Trottering down the oss road in me new hooves
I’m farmyardy sweet, fresh from the filth
of straw an’ swill, the trembly-leg sniff
of the slaughter wagon. A guzzler, gilt.
Trollopy an’ canting. Root yer tongue beneath
me frock an’ gulp the brute stench of the sty.
 
I’ve stopped denying meself: nibbling
grateful as a pet on baby-leaves, afeared
of the glutton of belly an’ rump. I’ve sunk
an when lads howd out opples on soft city palms
I guttle an’ spit, for I need a mon
wi’ a body like a trough of tumbly slop
to bury me snout in.
 
All them saft years of hiding at ’ome
then prancing like a pony for some sod to bridle
an’ shove down the pit, shying away
from ’is dirty fists. All them nights,
me eyes rolling white in the dark when the sow I am
was squailin an’ biting to gerrout.
 
Now no mon dare scupper me,
nor fancy-arse bints, for I’ve kicked the fence
an’ I’m riling on me back in the muck,
out of me mind wi’ grunting pleasure,
trotters pointing to the heavens like chimdey pots,
sticking V to the cockerel
prissy an’ crowing on ’is high church spire. 



Note:

Black Country : Standard
oss road : street                            
gilt : sow               
canting : cheeky or saucy                    
guttle : chew                   
mon : man               
saft : foolish                 
squailin : squealing or crying
bints : derogatory slang for girls
Close

SOW

Trottering down the oss road in me new hooves
I’m farmyardy sweet, fresh from the filth
of straw an’ swill, the trembly-leg sniff
of the slaughter wagon. A guzzler, gilt.
Trollopy an’ canting. Root yer tongue beneath
me frock an’ gulp the brute stench of the sty.
 
I’ve stopped denying meself: nibbling
grateful as a pet on baby-leaves, afeared
of the glutton of belly an’ rump. I’ve sunk
an when lads howd out opples on soft city palms
I guttle an’ spit, for I need a mon
wi’ a body like a trough of tumbly slop
to bury me snout in.
 
All them saft years of hiding at ’ome
then prancing like a pony for some sod to bridle
an’ shove down the pit, shying away
from ’is dirty fists. All them nights,
me eyes rolling white in the dark when the sow I am
was squailin an’ biting to gerrout.
 
Now no mon dare scupper me,
nor fancy-arse bints, for I’ve kicked the fence
an’ I’m riling on me back in the muck,
out of me mind wi’ grunting pleasure,
trotters pointing to the heavens like chimdey pots,
sticking V to the cockerel
prissy an’ crowing on ’is high church spire. 



Note:

Black Country : Standard
oss road : street                            
gilt : sow               
canting : cheeky or saucy                    
guttle : chew                   
mon : man               
saft : foolish                 
squailin : squealing or crying
bints : derogatory slang for girls

SOW

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère