Monday, February 18, 2008

Forgotten Piggy Poem

A recent discussion about under-appreciated works brought an old poem to mind.

For several years, an art gallery cooperative in our town has sponsored an Artists & Writers night. Artists submit a piece of work, and then the works are disseminated among the writers who write something about the art they've been stuck with... er... assigned. I haven't participated in the past year or two because I think they need to change the format to give the writers a break. Let the ARTISTS create something based on our writing for a change, I say. It ain't as easy as it looks.

One year, I was assigned this cartoony, amateurish painting of a pig (which took up most of the picture) with big garrish hearts painted all over him, standing beside the James River. It was obviously the James because you could see two little ferry boats behind him. This was not a primitive. Didn't have the innate charm of a primitive. I thought it was the dumbest painting I'd ever seen, and found little to inspire me, except for the fact my town of Smithfield is famous for its pork products. So I ended up writing a 5 stanza poem, entitled "Piggy on the Bank," into which I worked as many pork words as possible, including:
shanks; U.S.D.A. Choice (made that rhyme beautifully); "ferries in the CHOP," (har har); boorish; and a reference to Bacon's Castle, a historic home near the south ferry dock.

The river had recently flooded, so I made reference to that with a little piggy bank double entendre (can that apply to non-sexual humor?), in my favorite stanza:

Late, the River's banks
spilled their spangled coins,
doused your flaming flanks,
chilled your tender loins.

I thought it was brilliant, if I may be so boorish. But it was only used that one night, plus the month or so of the exhibition. And since the poem was based on a dumb painting, it's a pretty dumb, useless poem... except for its wit, which I lay before you now. I will now tuck it back into its folder, forgotten once more.

Kim Norman

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