Monday, February 2, 2009

PETA recruitment material

The Assassination of Emma Gray

Old Jerome, as the local story goes,
Was a keeper of pigs,
But he kept them kindly
With love and tender regard
Of the kind men often feel
For horses and dogs and even women.

Now anyone who has tried to love a pig
Knows such men are rare.

Jeromes's pigs were pampered pigs
Who got the richest swill in town;
Their pens were cleaner than his house,
And he fed them barley from his hand--
Not for love of future bacon and ham
But just for the love of pigs.

His Berkshires folowed him about like dogs,
And he thought it no insulrt to his neighbors
To give their names to his hogs;
Each pig had a name and knew it
And came when it was called--
Amos Bowen, Charlie Pollard, Jamie Hall.

But even Jerome understood
That the use of a pig won't buy the feed;
Oh, he tried to make them pay,
Selling some of the weeaners off,
But he always sold too few
And kept too many at the trough.

Ed Lee, this neightbor, was a practical man
Who saw pigs as sausage and chops;
To him the waste of good pork flesh
Was a sin against the Lord,
But his helpful suggestions of slaughter
Jerome rebuffed, deferred, or ignored.

One of the pigs was Emma Gray
A large and ancient Berkshire sow
So old and fat she could hardly walk;
Jerome had saved her twenty years before
From a sow that ate the rst of the litter,
And he had raised her on a bottle.

The squirming, squealing, hairless thing
Had slept in a box by her master's bed
Until she could take her place at the trough,
And Jerome, remembering a schoolboy crush
On a girl, a prominent matron now,
had named the piglet Emma Gray.

When the bottle-fed baby grew
Into a strong young sow,
Like a father he led her down the lane
To Westzel's Duroc Jersey boar and then
Twice a year he attended at the births
And gave each newborn pig a name.

Now Emma Gray was getting very old;
She'd had no brood that spring--
Nor the two before if the truth were told--
The weaners and the young Poland China boar
Croweded her away from the feeding trough,
But Jerome fed her by hand as he had before.

Now anyone who has tried to love a pig
Knows such men are rare.

Ed Lee had said she must be killed--
Said he'd do it for a side of bacon,
Speculated on the lard she'd render;
He persuaded and he nagged
And he juggled fancy numbers
Until at last Jerome gave in.

On the appointed day Ed built a fire
Under a fifty gallon drum
To heat the scalding water;
He scoured down the rending kettle, honed
The scrapers, rigged the hoist, and as he
Stropped the killing knife, nodded to jerome.

Jerome then called to Emma Gray
Who came and leaned against his leg
And rubbed with affection or to ease an itch--
With pigs the difference is not great--
The effort made her grunt and wheeze
While Ed approached with the killing knife.

Wed-eyed Jerome looked down at his pig
Then told Ed Lee to wait--
He had a word or two to say.
Putting his hand on the old sow's back,
He knelt in his overalls there in the mud
And bowed his head to pray.

Emma Gray, he said, I thank the Lord for thee;
Thou hast been a most faithful friend
To me and to the other pigs;
Thou hast not kept the others from the trough
Nor held for thyself the choicest wallowing spots;
Nor hast thou been a breaker of fences.

Thy children have been many and fat and
Thou has protected them from the winter's cold
And the ravaging foreigners of New Town,
And fed and nourished well they brood
And taught them to walk in righteousness,
And wept to see them leave they side.

But thy days are fulfilled, and now I deliver
Thee into the hands of Ed Lee the assassin.
Ed looked at the grunting, wheezing pig
And the old man kneeling by it in the mud;
He stabbed the knife into a wooden post--
They say he couldn't ever kill another pig.

Now anyone who has tried to love a pig
Know such men are rare.

John S. Harris, Barbed Wire.

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